Yes, it’s finally happening! Twitter is planning to launch an automated ad-buying system aimed at small businesses that will add an entirely new level of advertising to the website. Currently any person or company wanting to advertise on Twitter is forced to go through Twitter’s sales department, which, as imaginable, doesn’t have the infrastructure to meet current demand. Adam Bain, who is Twitter’s president of global revenue, said that Twitter has plans to launch a turnkey ad solution for small businesses later in the year.
Twitter first introduced an online form for advertisers back in December 2010. The program allows marketers to express interest in Promoted Tweets, Trends for Twitter Accounts themselves. Internally at Twitter, the present process uses these forms to find leads for sales reps, which then get in touch with the potential advertiser.
The flaw here is that Twitter is only focused on top 500 online advertisers – you can imagine the missed potential revenue here. Progression wise, Twitter has launched a geo-targeting system, allowing marketers to buy ads targeted by country, as well as an additional 210 market areas at present.
Once the ad system is implemented we can see the automated-buying process driving up ad prices, which will be sold using an auction basis much like Google’s AdWords. This is fantastic for small businesses, especially given the geo-targeting feature. Revenue wise, Twitter is estimated to gather $150 million in advertising, comparable to Facebook’s ad revenue back in 2007 when it began serving ads.
Twitter’s advertising setup will differ greatly from Facebook, however. Facebook’s present ad-buying system is automated but designed with small advertisers in mind. Marketers and businesses with serious budget typically work through a group of firms that specialize in Facebook advertising, primarily to take advantage of Facebook’s ads API.
It will be interesting to see if Twitter comes up with new advertising presentation solutions apart from Promoted Tweets or Trends. If they can skilfully integrate ads into their existing system without being intrusive to the user we could see Twitter becoming the King of brand advertising online.