14 Jul 11Shona Ghosh
Twitter is reportedly planning to roll out an automated ad system that will enable marketers to publish ads in bulk as it steps up its focus on revenue generation. The company is currently developing an API tailored to advertising partners, which will be able to use it to publish ads directly onto Twitter, according to Reuters. Agencies and brands will be able to access the API in Q4 this year, and Twitter will initially test the service with a limited number of partners.
Granting advertisers access to an API would be a bold strategy for Twitter, as it would enable marketers to use their own software tools to place, potentially, a large volume of ads directly onto the microblogging site. Twitter has thus far been extremely cautious about introducing ads to the platform for fear of impoverishing the user experience. Despite concerns that API access will enable advertisers to place a large flurry of ads in front of users, Twitter's limited partnerships indicate that the site is maintaining its cautious approach. Twitter is also likely to be mindful of Google's new social service, Google+ which is already nearing 10m users despite its current beta status. Threatened by Google, and with only 13% of adult users in the US using the service, Twitter's leverage in the social space will depend on whether it can finally pin down a viable business model through its advertising initiatives, which are rumoured to include advertising tweets within timelines and branded accounts in the style of Facebook's business pages.
The site will be looking to replicate Facebook's successes in the social advertising space, with the social behemoth regarded as the most important social network to advertisers. Facebook is expected to rake in USD4bn from ad revenues alone this year while Twitter, which does not make its financials public, is expected to pull in just USD45m in revenues this year. However, eMarketer predicts this will rise to USD250m next year. Twitter's valuation recently surged after a raft of high-profile internet companies made blockbuster debuts on the stock exchange, with rumours circulating that the company is seeking to raise USD400m at a USD8bn valuation.
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