Digital Orchard

From the daily archives:

Monday, March 1, 2010

Tech tipsComputer Tricks

Twitter, the ubiquitous social media site, is reportedly planning a new advertising model that will serve targeted adverts to users via searches on the tool.

A story by Peter Kafka in the Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital section,  suggests that the new model will be similar to Google’s Pay Per Click (PPC) search engine marketing platform, AdWords. According to the WSJ report, “a search for, say, ‘laptop’, may generate an ad for Dell”.

Existing Twitter Advertising

Existing Twitter Advertising

These adverts will be limited to searches made internally on Twitter and will not appear in the users ‘twitterstream‘. It is reckoned that adverts will be in the same format  as all posts on Twitter (i.e. in text messages of 140 characters or less) in order to offset any negative impact this new advertising might have on the user’s experience.

The WSJ story also suggests that while Twitter will work with “ad agencies and buyers to seed the program” at first, the company eventually plans on “moving to a self-serve model like Google’s, down the road”. Currently, advertising is limited to a tiny, low profile text box in the top right section of a Twitter user’s homepage (see aboce image). The rumoured system would help Twitter to generate long-term revenue from its estimated 75m users. The idea of charging for use of the service would appear to be a non runner in the Age of Free.

Whilst deals with major search engines in 2009 led to the company posting a profit for the first time, massive running costs mean the future of Twitter as a viable business has long been in doubt, despite the massive popularity of the service. While Bing and Google now include Twitter posts in their ‘real time search’ results, it is highly unlikely that the proposed system would serve ads directly into their search results. Although keyword-targeting would make it feasible, it would obviously be extremely unpopular with both search engines.

The Orchard Blog will keep you posted.