When Twitter announced at the end of August that it will open its Indonesia office in three to six months, it seemed curious that the company didn’t also say that they were looking for a country lead. Apparently it was because it already had a candidate in mind. Mumbrella reported on Friday that Twitter has hired Wego’s Rick Mulia for the position.
The former MSN and Yahoo veteran had spent many years in the digital and interactive space covering various roles building content properties and online advertising operations across Southeast Asia and Australia. Mulia is currently the media and advertising solutions specialist at Wego in Singapore. He will supposedly join Twitter in November and move to Indonesia.
According to Twitter vice president Adam Bain, the Indonesian office will focus on advertising sales as well as business development. “You look at Indonesia and you see the size of the audience there and how they’re using Twitter, and it’s super-invigorating,” Bain told the Wall Street Journal in August.
Given Mulia’s strong background in content and advertising technology, it seems like he’s exactly who Twitter is looking for to lead its local operations. His understanding of the digital media space will be crucial to determine what sort of approach he needs to take to convince advertisers that Twitter is the right platform to promote their brands and products.
Influencer-based marketing has been among the most popular methods used by brands to reach their online audience in Indonesia and it’s one of the challenges Twitter is facing in its efforts to bring advertisers on board.
Twitter’s offering of promoted tweets is the most popular method of advertising on the platform with its ability to target specific geography and demographics and the use of influencers goes almost head to head with this method. However, given the right approach, both can be combined as part of a more comprehensive social media advertising strategy especially as Twitter has made its analytics tools available to use by every member of the service.
Out of Twitter’s 271 million monthly active users, 211 million, or 77 percent, access the service from mobile devices and with Indonesians spending over three hours per day on smartphones, according to findings in May by brand development and research company Millward Brown, it’s obvious how Twitter should approach its strategy for Indonesia. The country has about 20 million monthly active users on Twitter according to the company back in June, almost all of them are mobile.
What’s not clear at the moment, is what becomes of the relationship between Twitter and Komli, its appointed advertising sales partner for the region. Komli has been signing up advertisers to promote on Twitter and it is actively hiring Twitter account managers. Whether this will continue after Twitter’s office has been fully set up in Jakarta will depend on Twitter’s business and operational strategies.
We have reached out to Twitter, Wego, and Rick Mulia himself but none of the parties are willing to comment on this information at this point.
[Update 16/9/2014] We have been informed that Rick Mulia has submitted his resignation from Wego.