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Twitter Getting Ready to Step Up Advertising

Twitter is about the up the ante in its advertising campaign, reputedly readying an API that would enable brands to run ads on the social network as they do on Facebook (i.e. a lot of different ads at once in a more sophisticated, automated fashion).

The social network star may claim it has nothing to announce (yet mention of the ad API “is plastered over every single whiteboard in Twitter HQ,” said one source), but that’s not what those quoted in an a recent article in Adweek (2/11/13),which spoke to some of those who are active Facebook advertisers on their discussions with Twitter officials on the topic, which have been ongoing for a couple of years.

According to Adweek, an ad API could exponentially increase Twitter’s ad revenues, particularly important if Twitter is planning to go public later this year or early next, which has also been reported. New advertisers, and more income from existing advertisers, are potentially on the line.

When Facebook began testing its ad API with just a few companies in 2009, it saw a 145 percent increase in ad revenue to $1.87 billion. By 2011, the Facebook grew to $3.15 billion in ad revenue.

There is always a challenge in opening up the advertising on these social media sites. Thus far, Twitter has been extremely careful in limiting ads and making sure they generate positive feedback from users. By opening up the demand floodgates, Twitter could compromise the advertisers’ quality and create a kind of ‘overkill’ that would dilute an advertisers’ power.

Twitter is the last of the major social networks to run ads without an ad API. Facebook was the first;  LinkedIn began doing it in November, 2012. Google+, Tumblr andPinterest, however, are social networks that do not currently feature ads.