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With over a billion dollars in funding and speculation that it could be headed toward an IPO in the not-too-distant future, it's no surprise that Twitter's efforts to monetize its user base have increased substantially in the past year.

The latest ad offering Twitter is experimenting with? Surveys.

Currently, many brands keep an eye on the popular social network in an effort to monitor the pulse of the consumer. But it's not always easy: separating the wheat from the chaff is difficult, and brands aren't always going to obtain insights that are meaningful or actionable.

So Twitter is hoping to change that by giving advertisers the ability to poll users directly. As detailed by AllThingsDigital's Peter Kafka, "Some users will see a tweet asking them to take a survey, and if they click on it, the message will expand within their timeline, and trigger a brief series of questions."

Currently, surveys are being offered to larger Twitter advertisers at no cost, with the expectation being that the functionality will roll out more broadly in the future. According to Kafka, Twitter has teamed up with Nielsen to audit and analyze survey results.

Twitter, of course, isn't charting new territory by seeking to use its audience to gather insight of value to advertisers. Google, for instance, has a product offering called Google Consumer Surveys. The search giant syndicates surveys created by advertisers to publishers who trade their content for survey responses. While Twitter surveys don't yet appear to offer much in the way of value to Twitter users, it's not inconceivable that Twitter could find ways to allow advertisers to reward users for their responses. 

Brought to you courtesy of...developers!

Surveys are just the latest Twitter offering brought to advertisers by the third party developers Twitter has largely left in the dust. As AllThingsDigital's Kafka points out, an offering of this nature would have been difficult to create if Twitter's ecosystem was filled with third party clients and unregulated syndication of tweet content.

As such, it's a reminder of why Twitter has sought to control the consumer user experience, if still not a satisfactory justification for the developers who feel betrayed.

Patricio Robles

Published 4 October, 2012 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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