Can Twitter’s Lonely Bright Spot Keep Shining?

It says something that one of the few bright spots at Twitter is a business that sells ads in non-Twitter apps. That business is mobile ad exchange MoPub, which Twitter bought for around $220 million in 2013. Last year, rumors swirled that the company was going to sell it off. Now, it’s adding headcount as its revenue growth outpaces growth of ads on Twitter.

“We’re still here, we’re still alive and well,” said Janae McDonough, vice president of MoPub. An ad tech veteran who has been running the unit since co-founder Jim Payne left in 2014, Ms. McDonough is considered a rising star inside the company thanks to MoPub’s success. In an interview with The Information, she said Twitter Chief Operating Officer Anthony Noto is expanding MoPub’s budget to fund a product roadmap that will help it go after brand advertisers that typically rely on TV.

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Longer term, Ms. McDonough said she wants MoPub to sell more types of advertising. “I want to see our organization focus on how to we get not just social dollars that Twitter is already seeing—how do we get display dollars, online video budgets?” she added. “That’ll grow the pie and ad revenue.”

—Tom Dotan contributed to this article.

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The company says it has made some strides in pulling in more brand advertisers, a big priority for MoPub—and Twitter, which has faced challenges retaining big brands.