Photo: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid
Update: Turns out the report was wrong. The platform that’s being tested isn’t a self-serve platform.
Twitter is testing a self-serve ad platform with a few beta customers, MediaPost reports. One of the beta testers is Clix Marketing Founder David Szetela, who is using it on behalf of a few clients, including author and VC Guy Kawasaki.
The self serve platform includes Twitter‘s two most popular ad formats: Promoted Tweets which, well, promotes tweets, and Promoted Accounts, which helps these accounts gain more followers. Beta users must commit to three months.
Ads are targeted according to search keywords, as well as “interests”, which is interesting. What makes search advertising so effective at converting clicks to commercial action, as opposed to social network advertising, is that it carries intent (if you’re searching for a dishwasher or travel destinations, it’s likely that you’re looking to buy a dishwasher or a trip). Many people speculate that Twitter could pack a similar punch, as the type of people you follow builds an “interest graph” which can be monetized.
If, however, most Twitter advertising is brand advertising, i.e. advertising that doesn’t aim to convert you to a purchase right away, self-serve would be less relevant as most buying would be done by big brands through agencies as opposed to small advertisers building their own campaign through online tools.
Going self-serve is an obvious move to scale up Twitter’s ad efforts. Self-serve ads were pioneered by Google and are a big part of its tremendous success. When Twitter opened a new business site in December with a contact form, we said this seemed like a first step in building a self-serve platform. We also reported on an analyst report that says Twitter revenue will reach $250 million next year; self serve could also play a role.
In any case, Twitter is experimenting and scaling up its ad program, which it needs to do to justify its huge valuation.