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Alongside a self service ad platform Twitter launched last week, the company also has a brand advertising platform, available to agencies and brands. new media age got an early look at the platform.

Following today’s announcement, Twitter and its partner American Express will start to help small businesses use the micro-blogging site to reach their audiences, without the need for big budgets and direct access to the site’s sales staff (nma.co.uk 17 February 2012).

The announcement has been communicated with a focus towards the long tail of small-to-medium businesses but, much like Facebook.

Alongside this, Twitter also has a platform that is designed to feel like a self-service ad platform but is designed to be used by bigger brands to create automated campaigns. Agencies will also be able to use the dashboard to create activity for multiple clients.

One such agency that has been working with the self-service platform is TBG Digital, which took new media age through a demonstration of how it works.

On entry to the ads platform, you are presented with the option to either run a Promoted Accounts campaign or a Promoted Tweets campaign.

The Promoted Accounts option, which results in the @brandname showing up as a suggestion of who to follow, has the options to set by location and keywords, such as people’s interests, dependent on what type of users you want to follow you (see above).

To promote your brand using particular tweets, there are three options. First, you can select to appear in search results and can target this by keyword. Second is the option to select tweets to highlight, which will then appear in people’s timelines and can be targeted by demographics and keywords. Finally, you can also use the platform to select tweets to appear at the top of your profile, highlighting a key message, rather than it slipping below as more tweets are posted.

Once selected, you are taken to a page to filter the targeting and select budgets and frequencies. This is different for each format, particularly for the latter because you are just paying to paste a tweet to the top of your own profile.

For the search results, it works in a similar way to both Google AdWords and Facebook in terms of targeting. You need to know what keywords you want to target, for example “X Factor”, and then you can filter by region and sex (image below).

For ads that appear in people’s timelines, you can either select to post only to people who follow you or to users that are similar to your followers. This ad could work well for a special offer or, because Twitter allows the option to set this to automatically promote each new tweet, it could help brands increase their reach to users who would be more likely to have an interest in following them.

At the moment, you have to manually set all the options and if doing this for a large brand with multiple messaging and target audiences, it would be a lengthy process. On Facebook, the option to optimize and change the ad content and targeting is a lot simpler and a lot more scalable.

TBG Digital is one of a range of agencies that have their own ad-targeting platform in which they use the ad APIs from companies such as Facebook to run and optimise ads in real time and on a much bigger scale. It is not yet known if Twitter will be releasing an API for these companies to use.

One major upside of using this service is that Twitter only releases its analytics dashboard to brands that are spending with them. The dashboard gives a good range of information, including engagement metrics and demographics. It is also very easy to understand and manipulate, with easily digestible graphics, which is not always the case (see below).

Twitter clearly has its sights on the long-tail revenue from small-to-medium businesses, so it is wise to create such an intuitive analytics and ad platform because the people trying to get to grips with it will not always be well versed in digital data.

Once Twitter is comfortable with the ad platform, it can then work out, with the help of agencies and brands, how this can become scalable for bigger brands, without diminishing its simplicity and without creating too much disturbance for the actual users.


Published 17 February, 2012 by NMA Staff

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