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Twitter ads are apparently almost here. After what seems like years and years of speculation, Twitter says that a roll-out of an ad-driven business model is "imminent".

The revelation came during a panel discussion at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting 2010. One of the panel members, Anamitra Banerji, is Twitter's head of product management and monetization. In response to a question about timing, Banerji seemed to indicate that Twitter could begin a launch of some sort within the next month.

Obviously, it's probably not a good idea to hold your breath given how long it has taken Twitter to monetize. And even if the company does roll out an ad service, it may be limited in scope and highly experimental. But that doesn't mean that marketers and entrepreneurs can't start thinking about the opportunities that Twitter ads may inform them.

While Twitter ads will certainly receive a lot of attention, it is likely that the early days will offer the typical Gold Rush opportunities for those who are savvy. Here are three possible areas of opportunity that I see.

  • SEM providers/resellers. There's already a market for individuals and companies who manage client Twitter accounts, so it seems natural that some SEM providers and resellers may want to look at adding Twitter ad management to their product offering for certain kinds of clients.
  • Affiliate programs. While it's unclear how Twitter ads will work, they might be worth a look for affiliate marketers. If the costs are low enough, nimble affiliates may be able to take advantage of hot topics to hawk relevant (and semi-relevant) wares.
  • Arbitrage. The million-dollar question with Twitter ads is how well they'll convert. Personally, I think there are reasons to be skeptical. But Twitter ads may be a nice new tool for arbitrageurs who use Twitter ads to drive traffic to pages that serve higher-paying ads.

Needless to say, Twitter ad opportunities will depend in large part on how Twitter structures its offering. Details are scant right now. At a minimum, Twitter's Banerji stated that it will be "explicitly clear" which ads are sponsored, which is to be expected. A more interesting thing to watch is whether Twitter ads will be limited to users accessing Twitter through the website, or whether Twitter will come up with a product that ensures ads are delivered through the desktop and mobile Twitter clients that are heavily used by the service's most hardcore members.

Photo credit: carrotcreative via Flickr.

Patricio Robles

Published 24 February, 2010 by Patricio Robles

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

2392 more posts from this author

Comments (4)

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Ian Hendry

It would seem Bannerji and Twitter are now rolling back from the suggested launch of Twitter ads at SXSW in a month.  It's coming, but they can't say it will be that soon.

A big difference I see between Facebook and, to some extent, Google advertising and this is that not much is known about Twitter users to be able to target advertising quite so well.  OK, it might find some keywords in bios or tweets (although the latter would be hard to match with 50 million tweets a day), but only 41% of Twitterers put anything in the 'location' field and its all free text: if you are based in Clerkenwell you could enter Clerkenwell, London, EC4, England, UK, United Kingdom or anything else.  How are they going to produce geo-specific ad results on unstructured free text?

OK, Twitter is rolling out Local Trends and asking people to pin themselves to a location to fix this in time, but they only support 20 cities globally so far.  By your location having to be on a list they manage they are severely limiting the ability to deliver effective location based advertising.

Ian Hendry
CEO, WeCanDo.BIZ
http://www.wecando.biz

over 6 years ago

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Ann

Will Twitter's advertising program affect the Twitter advertising networks that are out there on the Internet right now, networks such as Sponsored Tweets? What is your take on this question? Thanks

over 6 years ago

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Sandra Baize

Yes about 12 days ago I NOTIFIED YOU ABOUT A PAYMENT OF 139.95 that was takenout of my bank. you assured me it would be refunded in 5 to 7 days. Its been 2 weeks and you have not put in back . so I;d like too know what in the hell is going on you even gave me a confirmation number[ SO WHERE IS MY MONEY?

almost 6 years ago

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Sandra Baize

YOUR ANSWER

almost 6 years ago

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