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Twitter believed to have hit 4m Australian users as local office turns one

Karen Stocks

Karen Stocks

Twitter is understood to have reached the four million user mark in the Australian market but managing director Karen Stocks refused to reveal the size of its domestic audience.

Multiple senior agency executives have told Mumbrella the Australian Twitter sales team is now telling the market that there are more than four million Australian Twitter accounts, following a push by the platform on key areas such as sport, television and music. However, when asked about this Stocks, who joined the company in September, was circumspect.

“We don’t breakdown numbers at the country level”, said Stocks, before adding: “But I am very, very happy with the growth we are seeing.”

A rise to four million accounts would mean the platform has doubled its domestic audience in the 18 months since the first US Twitter executives flew in and began a strong engagement strategy, designed to lift the its profile amongst the Australian public.

Speaking to Mumbrella, ahead of the Twitter’s eighth birthday on Friday, Stocks noted how March was also the first anniversary of its Australian operations. 

“It’s an exciting time for us, we’ve got the 8th birthday of Twitter and this month is also the one year anniversary of our first employee in the Australian market,” she said.

“We are trying to cover the key verticals in the Australian market – TV, sport and entertainment are some of those key drivers.”

Ed St John

Ed St John

In order to do this Twitter Australia has built out both its sales team, thought to be more than 10 people nationally, and also a strong partnership team hiring the likes of Jonno Simpson to head sports, Tony Broderick as head of TV partnerships, and most recently picking up former Aria chairman Ed St John to help with music and entertainment outreach. Twitter is also currently looking for a public policy/political partnerships liaison.

The hiring of St John, a former CEO of Warner Music and BMG, is a major coup for the social media platform.

“We’ve hired Ed on a contract to help us kick start the entertainment industry. Aussies love their music and entertainment,” said Stocks. “Ed is very well connected and extremely experienced and working well with us in terms of making sure we are getting to the right people and giving them the right tools, training and support that they need.

“When we look at Twitter and why people use the platform it’s to connect to what interests them the most, discover great content and to connect with others and people are really flocking to it to stay abreast.”

Stocks said she was also pleased with how advertisers were engaging with the platform. “We’ve had a fantastic response from Australian advertisers and agencies as well,” she said.

“They are very happy to see people on the ground in Australia and there is so much energy, enthusiasm and creativity coming from Australian advertisers, and we are working with them on bringing some really world class executions around the platform.”

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 11.53.48 AMStocks cites the recent Commbank Ashes Twitter campaign and Kia’s sponsorship of the Australian Open as examples of brands in Australia used the platform effectively.

“These were great ways to see advertisers connecting into the Australian culture,” she said. “In the Australian Open we had a key sponsor in Kia not only talking about the tennis match, but when Rafa hurt his back in the final match they put out a real time tweet saying ‘We’ve got your back’. That was one of the highest engaged tweets we’ve seen on the platform.

“It was a great example of Kia leveraging their sponsorship of the Australian Open, their alignment with Rafael Nadal and capturing a moment to get into the Twitter conversation that was completely relevant.”

Asked which media outlets were best at engaging and innovating on the social platform Stocks said she was pleased to see how Seven’s My Kitchen Rules and Nine’s The Block were creating content for the platform.

“If you talk about TV for example 95 per cent of the public conversation around television happens on Twitter and we work on a daily basis with all the TV networks. If we look at the five most tweeted days in Australia they are all around television.

“If you look at programs like My Kitchen Rules and The Block, and the integration they have on Twitter is really world class and they are seeing terrific engagement.”

Asked what her overall goals for the platform in Australia were Stocks said: “I have got lofty goals for Twitter Australia. My ultimate goal is for it to be recognised as the best Twitter office in the world.

“I have no doubt we can do that. The Australian population is very connected, we have fantastic partners, we have fantastic users and the Australian advertising industry is world leading in terms of creative. The international Twitter highlight reel will portray Australia quite frequently.”

Nic Christensen

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