Blog Post

Twitter to Launch Ad Platform Soon

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

Updated: Twitter will roll out an official advertising platform, likely within the next month or so, one of the company’s executives told an advertising-industry conference, according to a report in Media Post. Anamitra Banerji, head of product management and monetization at Twitter, apparently made the comment in response to a question from a panel moderator at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting on Monday.

Update: According to one source in the media industry, Twitter may launch its new advertising platform at the South by Southwest conference, which starts March 12. The social network is apparently working with several major partners for the launch, including “new and traditional media,” the source said. Choosing the music and interactive media conference to usher in the advertising platform would be fitting, since the use of Twitter during Sarah Lacy’s interview with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg at SXSW in 2007 was seen by many as a tipping point for the service.

Twitter is working on an ad platform, Banerji reportedly told Media Post following the panel, but currently it’s “only in the test phase.” People are constantly “talking and engaging with brands, sharing their feedback,” during events such as the SuperBowl, he said during the panel, asking the conference delegates: “What if brands start to participate?” He added that the company will make it “explicitly clear that a sponsor” paid for the ad, and make it “relevant and useful, so the user doesn’t think of it as an ad.”

Twitter recently revealed that it has grown to the point where it is receiving and distributing 50 million tweets a day, or about 600 every second. That puts the social network up in Facebook territory. With that kind of growth, it makes sense that the company would want to take advantage of that user base and provide advertisers with a way to reach and target them. What remains to be seen is how the service implements ads, and whether or not users revolt against the commercialization of their social network.

There are already several companies trying to take advantage of advertising in Twitter streams, including IZEA — formerly known as PayPerPost — and, which allegedly pays celebrities like Kim Kardashian thousands of dollars to tweet about various products and services. It will be interesting to see what happens to these and other “sponsored tweet” services when Twitter eventually rolls out its official platform.

Some Twitter users say they will stop using the service if advertising becomes prevalent in their streams (but may be willing to pay a fee to keep it out), while others say that they welcome advertising and look forward to having Twitter target them based on the hashtags or keywords they use. What do you think? Will advertising change your experience or make you use Twitter less?

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

How Human Users Are Holding Twitter Back

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user (michelle)

75 Responses to “Twitter to Launch Ad Platform Soon”

  1. why not take small steps to start layering in advertising. the smartest place to start with the last disruption is Twitter Search. users behaviors are used to ads w/ search results. the ads would be very targeted and relevant. ads in results after years of non is playing with fire after leaving it alone for so long. users will loose trust in their Twitter streams when they get further cluttered..

    • The reason is reach. A brand that’s just starting out on Twitter needs to tell people that it’s there. Even a brand with 100,000 Twitter followers wants to spread its message more widely. Brands will pay to display their messages and offers to people who are likely to be interested.

  2. The thinking thus far on Twitter advertising has been very limited. Buying celebrity endorsements through platforms like and Izea feels really cheap.

    It’s much more straightforward to take tweet-sized ads from brands and insert them into user streams without using a middleman like a celebrity. Let people see the message as originating from the sponsor brand, and let people reply, on Twitter, to the ad directly. This actually enables better matching of ads to users and ensures that sponsors are held accountable for their messaging. This is the approach we take at 140 Proof.

  3. I really hope this doesn’t cause inconvenience to the tweeps.. Cause the yahoo ads which are displayed in their mail, is really a big trouble.. It takes time to load.. And lots of them have porn ads..! I hope twitter doesn’t cause such inconvenience..! Please Twitter.. I really love you..! Twitter is one among the best social networking sites i have ever been to..! :)

  4. I don’t know about advertising, but they should surely get rid of RETWEETS. Retweets suck. I don’t need the echo chamber. There is enough repetition on the Web. They don’t need to encourage it. Anyway, what’s Retweet for except for some kind of quid quo pro between narcissists. Anyone who I follow that Retweets more than once a week gets the AX from me.

  5. The danger here, as with any new platform, is that thoughts immediately turn to how to monetize the experience through advertising (the same thing is happening with moblie-social platforms). Social platforms, as you point out, have specific, unwritten rules about what’s acceptable or not – and those rules are written by the people who use the platform, as much or more so than by the platform owners. You didn’t have this dynamic in traditional channels, which gave platform owners (networks, radio stations, publishers) the ability to monetize with little push-back from the consumers of the content. Now that the users are both the creators and the consumers of the content, traditional monetization models are difficult to overlay here. The trouble is, there’s not enough creativity in how to monetize these things that don’t interfere with the experience. Immediately the thought goes to an interruption of the experience by advertising within a Tweet, which personally doesn’t do anything for me. Where I’ve seen value both for a brand and the user is when the brand can bring something to the table that wouldn’t have been available otherwise. In the Twitter sense, I think the ability to aggregate the conversations and bring it to the user in a convenient way has more value than pushing a marketing message in a single tweet. Even in the aggregation approach, branding should be light, and the content and value to the consumer should be clear. Here’s one example I worked on last year: A bit brand-heavy, too, but the concept is there. This might be one approach that Twitter will take, as opposed to marketing within Tweets. There are other examples of this since we did this one, including some good ones around the Olympics.

  6. So basically twitter has become a place for breaking news and sharing links. thats about it.

    They need to have a solid monetization plan, something like adwords for google. with 140 characters and mostly links, i suspect thats going to be difficult.

    As for the location based stuff, what percentage of users are we talking anyways?

  7. Hey Mathew,

    I think it depends on what form the platform takes.

    From the article it appears that it will be focused on conversations surrounding events (similar to the Facebook connect successes with Superbowl, Obama inauguration, etc) – in that case it could be very successful for brands as long as they have the right people who listen, connect and interact appropriately.

    One thing that Twitter must allow is the ability for me to block brands from my Twitterstream so I can control my experience.

    We’ll see what transpires :)


  8. If it’s in the stream, as it seems, then yeah… that’s pretty annoying. But c’mon, one Tweet is so ephemeral, if you’ve got a few hundred followers, it’s off your stream so fast it might as well not have existed.

    And there’s the problem with Twitter advertising. It has to be in the stream – not enough people use to Tweet – and the stream is so very transient that an ad has no lasting value.