Twitter gets upfront advertising deal with CW and Ford

Twitter's Jack Dorsey
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The CW and Ford have signed the first Twitter Amplify upfront deal, guaranteeing ads on selected videos in CW Twitter accounts.

It marks one of the largest video ad deals for Twitter, at a time when brands are seeking social media video opportunities.

With more people watching content on different devices and looking for second-screen experiences, advertisers want to get in front of the social media audience. Twitter is one of the only social media networks that currently allows ads on its videos, and its Twitter Amplify program lets brands run their ads on specific content categories.

"Video right now is our number one ad product," said Mike Park, director of content partnerships and the Twitter Amplify program at Twitter. "The best part about Twitter Amplify in terms of video is we're the only social pre-roll [before the content] product out there."

Starting on Tuesday, CW will create social media videos such as weekly recaps, highlights told through fan tweets and sneak peeks for its five most tweeted shows, "Supergirl," "The Flash," "Arrow," "DC's Legends of Tomorrow" and "Supernatural." Ford advertising will appear on the videos, which will be posted in official CW Twitter accounts. Then Twitter will promote the videos in front of targeted Twitter users based on its data.

"We know that today's viewer has many choices when it comes to how they consume content, and we've seen how the trend of using a second screen during TV viewing continues to grow," Susan Venen-Bock, national media manager for Ford, said in an email. "Platforms like Twitter are the perfect place for people to engage in real-time conversation about their favorite show and programs such as The CW Social Convergence target this young, multi-platform consumer."

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Park said while there have been Twitter Amplify deals with TV partners, there was "nothing at this scale or nothing at this size" in its entertainment category. Previous agreements include the Twitter Amplify adverting deals for the NFL's Thursday Night Football games and the ads on Bloomberg's pre- and post-presidential debate coverage on Sept. 26.

The yearlong deal is especially notable because it is an upfront deal, which means the commitment was made before the beginning of the television season. Most social media deals are not made that far in advance, signifying brands are looking at the medium as legitimate advertising space.

"Every smart client is looking for a holistic approach to their marketing, and it's not just channel specific," said Christina Norman, CEO of media agency Media Storm. "We know for a long time that people like to watch television and are online at the same time. It seems like a smart, natural extension."

Norman, who previously was an executive at OWN and MTV, pointed out that despite the news of cord-cutting behavior, people are still watching television. However, it's on their own time and on their own devices. She said they're also spending time online, so getting in front of a Twitter audience could help promote both the shows and the automaker.

"People are on Twitter all the time when they're not watching the show," Norman said. "This makes sure they are part of a conversation and reminds them. It's mutually beneficial [for CW and Ford]. It keeps their consideration high."