Twitter says that 70 percent of its users come from outside the U.S. at the moment, and so it makes sense that this is where it is also investing more to grow the rest of its business. Today the company announced that it has appointed another sales executive to beef up its efforts outside its home market.
Stephen McIntyre, most recently of Google, will be overseeing Twitter’s international self-serve business, based out of Twitter’s European HQ in Dublin, which Twitter opened in September 2011.
McIntyre’s appointment comes about a week after reports emerged that Shailesh Rao, currently based in New Delhi, India, would be leaving Google to join Twitter. Rao is now Twitter’s new VP of International Revenue.
The news also comes as one third-party Twitter analytics company, Twopcharts, claimed that Twitter this week would pass the 500 million user mark. Twitter’s most recent official figure for active users comes from September 2011, when it said it had 100 million active users.
Both announcements were “officially” confirmed on Twitter today by Adam Bain, the company’s overall president of global revenue.
Update: We now have slightly more detail from Bain himself. “2012 will be a pivotal year for Twitter and our advertising business,” he said. “These hires are key to bringing our Promoted Products to more markets around the world and helping businesses everywhere get value from advertising on Twitter. I couldn’t be more excited.”
Both McIntyre and Rao had been with Google for years and played a significant part in Google’s international growth.
McIntyre (pictured left) is the latest hire for Twitter’s office in Dublin, opened in September last year. According to his LinkedIn profile – not updated to include the Twitter news at the time of writing– he was senior director, new media products and platform at Google, where he was also overseeing self-service platforms for international advertisers. That job was also based in Dublin. McIntyre had been with Google since 2005, working in a variety of jobs in sales for the search giant.
Twitter rolled out its self-serve platform only last week; this indicates that Twitter very much wants an aggressive roll-out of that platform.
Rao, meanwhile, who had been with Google since 2007, had been MD of Google India and also oversaw display sales for Asia. His appointment signals a key move for Twitter to start monetizing its service in international markets where it had not done so before.
While McIntyre is looking after a specific platform, it looks like Rao, as a revenue VP, might have a wider remit. Twitter tells us that he will be tasked with setting up direct sales operations in new markets. It is not clear if it might also include licensing deals along the lines of the one announced earlier this week between Yandex and Twitter to provide real-time search results. Although there were no financial terms revealed with that announcement, a similar one between Twitter and Microsoft to provide similar data for Bing was reported to be worth $30 million.
The hires come at the same time that Twitter is looking to expand its employees outside the U.S. That hiring drive has also seen the company looking for additional staff to manage PR and others to focus on content development from specific verticals, such as sports.