4: 4 Dick Costolo
(Guardian (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Job: chief executive, Twitter
Industry: digital media
2012 ranking: 2
His unlikely past as a standup comedian might help Costolo make light of the pressure he faces to turn Twitter into a global moneyspinner.
Twitter is noticeably more commercial than it was two years ago, with a growing number of promoted tweets in the news streams of its 200 million users. Promoted trends also look to have taken off: big brands now routinely pay to appear top of Twitter's most talked-about topics, and there has been no major backlash from users about artificial devices muddying the waters.
Twitter is said to be preparing an advertising exchange, a step already successfully achieved by social media rival Facebook, enabling marketers to target users directly, based on their assumed interests, by pushing products reflecting their online activity.
Research firm eMarketer predicts that Twitter will make $582.8m (pounds 373.7m) in global ad revenue this year, rising to nearly $1bn next year, as advertising on mobile hots up.
More significantly, perhaps, Twitter is estimated to have earned $309.9m in ad revenue from mobile this year - more than it generated in total across all platforms in 2012, when it made $138.4m from mobile ads. Analysts believe Twitter has benefited from the efforts of Google and Facebook, which are both trying to coax advertisers to target users on their smartphones and tablet computers.
Twitter was forced to apologise after a campaign by a number of UK women targeted with rape and bomb threats on the social network and has introduced "report tweet" option for abusive messages.
Come 2014, when Twitter is expected to make its hotly anticipated stock-market debut, Costolo will hope to have convinced all commercial partners that his site is more than the trading place of 140-character quips - or abuse.
(c) 2013 Guardian Newspapers Limited.
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