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Twitter has launched an advertising programme for small businesses in the US who use American Express.

Amex has begun to notify a limited number of eligible card holders that they can start using the self-serve ads and will steadily increase the number of participating SMEs over the coming weeks.

As we reported last month, Twitter started trialling its self-serve ad platform with around 100 SMEs last year and will eventually include 10,000 new advertisers in this latest rollout.

Amex is encouraging card holders to sign up by offering each buyer $100 in free advertising.

blog post from Twitter announcing the launch said that from the start “small businesses of all types have made their homes on Twitter, using the platform to interact with current customers and market to new ones.”

Twitter says that “no previous advertising experience” is required and it will provide “ongoing management of your advertising.”

The two products on offer are Promoted Accounts and Promoted Tweets – the first aims to help businesses connect with new people and the latter is to “get your messages in front of more of the right people.”

To simplify the process Twitter automatically identifies and promotes the advertisers' most engaging tweets.

The payment model is results based, so advertisers pay per follower or per engagement (such as clicks, retweets, replies or favourites), and campaigns can be targeted to specific countries or US metropolitan areas. 

Twitter’s latest announcement continues a recent flurry of activity aimed at expanding its ad platform.

Last month it added Promoted Tweets and Accounts to its mobile apps to target the 55% of its active users who log in via a mobile device.

Previously, users had only been able to see the ads if they followed the advertiser's feed, however last week the scheme was expanded so marketers could target “mobile users that share similar interests with their existing followers.”

Twitter’s focus on attracting SMEs is mirrored by Facebook, which recently announced an Ad Boost programme to provide 50,000 small businesses across Europe with free ad credits worth around £80.

It seems that both social networks are looking to bolster their ad revenues by proving that social media advertising isn’t only relevant to bigger, global brands.

David Moth

Published 28 March, 2012 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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