Twitter Is Launching An Ad Exchange

Twitter will launch an ad exchange in which buyers will be able to “retarget” users with ads, according to Ad Age.

The company will do so after taking advice from Facebook’s FBX ad exchange partners. An ad exchange works by monitoring the cookies — little bits of tracking code — in web users’ browsers. When someone leaves a shoe-shopping site and enters Twitter, the cookies will signal to advertisers interested in targeting that user with shoe ads inside Twitter.

It’s not clear what Twitter’s exchange ads would look like, although triggering a promoted tweet from a cookie isn’t a major technical challenge.

Ad Age said:

Since at least late last year, the company has met with several FBX partners who are well-versed in locating on Facebook people who had previously visited a brand’s site and retargeting them with non-standard display ads on the social network, in hopes of luring them back to the brand site.

One obvious challenge for Twitter is that a huge portion of its users are on Twitter’s mobile phone/app platform, which is a largely cookie-free environment. Desktop Twitter users may be a small, less desirable population for advertisers to target.

A programmatic, real-time bidding platform has been expected at Twitter since last year.

Yahoo is considering an ad exchange for Tumblr.

Facebook’s exchange has been a huge success for advertisers. The product has been expanded to include ads in Facebook’s main news feed, not just the display ads at the side of the page. Ads placed there perform better than regular ads on Facebook, according to the companies that buy media within it. It’s not clear, however, just how big the exchange business is for Facebook.

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