Twitter Hires Ad Tech Vet Bruce Falck To Turn Its Revenue Team Around

Twitter has hired former Turn CEO Bruce Falck to lead its Revenue Product team, according to a tweet Thursday by company co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey.

Falck has earned a reputation as an ad tech turnaround artist, stepping in as COO at BrightRoll a year prior to its $640 million sale to Yahoo and then taking over as CEO of Turn about a year and a half before it sold to Amobee for $310 million earlier this year.

“At the time, we needed someone to come in and make some big changes,” said Jonathan Gardner, VP of communications for Amobee (née Turn).

Falck inherited Turn, which had not had a CEO for almost half a year, and put the DSP through a painful restructuring, laying off around 15% of the startup’s 400 employees.

“He was good at getting into our company and very quickly figuring out what it was marketers were going to want and building for that,” Gardner said. “And he did the tough thing any leader needs to do when the company has to get healthier, which is bring costs in line.”

Twitter’s revenue operations have been in a spiral lately. Advertising revenue has been down year over year for two consecutive quarters, and TellApart, the remarketing ad tech shop Twitter bought for almost half a billion dollars in 2015, is being quietly folded.

Falck trimmed quite a bit at Turn immediately after taking over, but “tripled down” on video ad solutions and publisher-side relationships, Gardner said.

Falck’s track record at Turn may have appealed to Twitter, which is itself pivoting aggressively out of direct-response and performance – categories Facebook has practically annexed – into live video content deals.

In March, Forrester senior analyst Jessica Liu told AdExchanger Twitter’s strongest growth opportunity is to “explore TV ad revenue models instead of trying to replicate traditional social network revenue models.”

Liu pointed to streaming deals with sports leagues like the NFL, the NBA and Bloomberg News.

Earlier this month, Twitter announced plans to create a 24/7 network featuring a mix of its sports league partners, the music and event company Live Nation and news companies with live video investments, including Bloomberg, BuzzFeed and Vox tech site The Verge.

Going for a hybrid social platform/live TV network with a mix of inventory and revenue-sharing arrangements can be tough to translate for ad tech companies and programmatic agency units.

“We’re investing in opportunities for advertisers that are familiar, scalable and have proven ROI, like mid-roll,” Mike Park, Twitter’s head of content partnerships, said to AdExchanger in March.

Falck’s knowledge of the ad tech space and New York-based agency needs may be key to bridging the social media company with its marketer revenue sources.

“The team has made great strides in renewing their focus on products that are both valuable and differentiated for consumers and advertisers, and I am thrilled to have the chance to build on this momentum,” Falck wrote in a prepared statement.

Being a tech turnaround artist, though, means more than cost-cutting and product investment.

“Bruce really revitalized the culture here,” Gardner said. “He stepped in at a tough time, when we’d had a CEO depart and the ad tech market itself was facing challenges, and it became a happy place to work.”


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