SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter, the social media platform, has taken a major step in raising its future ad revenues by striking a multi-year, multi-million dollar deal with Starcom MediaVest Group.

Maurice Levy, chief executive of Publicis Groupe, Starcom's parent group, told Bloomberg Television the deal could involve spending "between four to six hundred million dollars over a period of three, four years".

Levy said was confident that Starcom would find a way to monetize the audience. "This could be pop-ups, this could be video, this could be new formats," he said, "so we are working very hard with Twitter to find the right way to commercialize their space."

The agreement will mean Starcom's clients, including Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola, will be given first refusal on premium advertising slots on Twitter.

"Twitter, in a very short period of time, has gone from an experiment to something that is essential," Laura Desmond, chief executive of Starcom, told the Financial Times.

She added: "This signals to the marketplace how we want to conduct business and measure the implications. This is the future. It's convergence."

In addition to top slots, Starcom's clients will get access to new Twitter products such as a mobile survey that can gather real-time opinions from consumers.

The two groups will also carry out research on the relationship between Twitter, consumers and brands, while a "social TV lab" will focus on the relationship between Twitter and television.

"We think that the industry had been focused in the wrong area, which was making a decision between Twitter and TV," said Adam Bain, Twitter's president of global revenue. "That's not what we believe. Twitter is a bridge."

Data sourced from Bloomberg, Financial Times, Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff