Twitter Goes Big with Ad Tech Acquisition & IPO Filing

Twitter IPO

It’s been quite a week for Twitter.

On Monday the platform announced its acquisition of MoPub, a mobile ad technology company. MoPub lets advertisers make real time, automated bids on ads. Among other things, this will simplify Twitter’s current hands-on and somewhat cumbersome ad targeting process.

That was news in and of itself, as it will allow Twitter to bolster an already profitable desktop and mobile ad program. Then on Tuesday, former Facebook product manager Antonio Garcia published a Medium post titled, “Why Twitter Buying MoPub Is a Very Big Deal.” It’s a quick and worthwhile read, but I’ll summarize.

The value in social advertising is not in demographics; it’s in matching intent with behaviors. It’s about knowing that a user is shopping for cameras on her work computer in the morning, browsing Twitter with on her Moto X on the bus and then then reading the NYT on her iPad at night. As Garcia puts it, “Threading together all those experiences (one desktop computer + two mobile devices) is something nobody actually does these days.” Disparate data is one thing, but when advertisers can connect the dots between platform, device, browser, etc., they can see an invaluable consumer story.

For those reasons, Garcia considers the MoPub acquisition “a bigger, ballsier bet than my former employer [Facebook] ever made, and it puts Twitter way ahead of any other social media player.”

And that brings us to the biggest Twitter news of all, announced ever so appropriately in a tweet.

After dodging the question for months, Twitter announced on Thursday that they have confidentially filed with the SEC for an IPO. According to the New York Times, the company could go public by the end of the year or in early 2014.

Obviously all of the above is epic news for Twitter (assuming that they don’t follow suit with Facebook’s post-IPO fumbles). Brand marketers shouldn’t fare too badly either. The MoPub acquisition gets us on the road to targeting humans who use the Internet like, well, humans. (Read: 4 devices, 12 social networks, bouncing from site to site to site). So instead of Sally who shopped for a camera once, we see Sally who shops for cameras, reads about politics on Slate and follows Steven Colbert on Twitter. Disparate data be damned — the full story is always the most valuable.