In 2010, Twitter introduced its first self-serve advertising platform, which enabled businesses and agencies to upload ads, albeit one at a time. In 2011, Reuters reported that Twitter was gearing up to launch an API in Q4 of 2012, which would allow these same advertisers to upload ads in bulk. Uploading ads in bulk is important for big brands, as it saves a lot of time and therefore money. At the time of the Reuters report, Facebook was already offering this type of API, so it was important for Twitter to provide one also. In September 2012 Twitter added the following statement to its API 1.1 release terms in preparation for the launch:
“Twitter reserves the right to serve advertising via its APIs (“Twitter Ads”). If you decide to serve Twitter Ads once we start delivering them, we will share a portion of advertising revenue with you per our then-current terms and conditions.”
While the planned Q4 2012 launch failed to materialize, word is that Twitter is nearly ready to start rolling out their new API, which will provide Twitter Ads customers with more “sophisticated targeting and analytics tools”. According to TechCrunch, Twitter is briefing social media marketing agencies that help big brands buy advertising on the specifics of the new API. So far Twitter has declined to comment, saying “We don’t have anything to share at this time.” TechCrunch also reported that Twitter has not shared many details about what the advertising API would exactly entail to the agencies. One source did tell the tech blog that “we have been getting updates that state that it will be very close to what their current self-serve model is.”
It will be interesting to see if this new API, with its new sophisticated targeting tools, provides advertisers with a platform that not only drives more clicks, but also leads to conversions. Currently, many advertisers just aren’t seeing the kind of conversions from Twitter Ads that they receive from other advertising platforms (such as Adwords & Retargeting networks). While the ads are helping advertisers increase follower counts, they still don’t justify the ad spend due to the lack of any concrete ROI. If the new targeting features help resolve this problem, advertisers will have an even bigger incentive to use the API, as it will not only help save money, but might actually help these advertisers make more money as well.
Have you been using Twitter Ads? What results have you seen (or not seen)? Share your experiences in the comments below.
In addition to writing about emerging news and trends in the performance marketing industry, she is a columnist for Forbes, covering the intersection of technology and society. She can be can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, or her personal blog... and usually with a cup of coffee in hand, too.