starcom-logoTwitter and Starcom MediaVest Group have reached a multi-hundred-million-dollar deal for advertising on the social network, the Financial Times reports.

The deal is for “special access” to advertising slots, as well as research data and new, as-yet-unannounced advertising products, in return for which Starcom has committed to spend $200 million — or more — of its clients’ money. Full financial details were not released, but I would assume that a deal of this magnitude also includes significant financial incentives, AKA discounts.

Twitter has been unveiling new advertising products such as demographic targeting tools and keyword targeting options with furious rapidity in the past weeks, as well as Twitter #Music. That seems to indicate the company is focusing on monetization … and, if the Silicon Valley buzz is to be believed, a 2013 IPO.

In any case, Twitter is certainly focused on advertisers and advertising. But even with all its recently-announced products, it’s still early days, and the upside is difficult to estimate.

“We’re in really uncharted territory here,” said Eric Covino, president of digital marketing firm Creative Signals. “You have these tremendously large user groups with advertisers salivating over them … but they’re still in their infancy in terms of advertising.”

In any case, this is not Starcom’s first rodeo. The company has been experimenting, testing, and learning on Twitter for a year and a half, Starcom CEO Laura Desmond said. Which means that it believes Twitter ads are driving real, measurable ROI for its clients.

Covino is a little skeptical.

“All these millions of dollars have to overcome basic psychology,” he says. “Twitter has publicly announced that they look at themselves as a media company, not a social media service. But its users think Twitter is social media.”

In other news, Twitter and Starcom are also apparently building a “social TV” lab together, so perhaps Twitter #TV will soon be joining Twitter #Music.

Image credit: Starcom; Hat tip: AllThingsD


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