Although it is in beta testing and currently only available to a small number of approximately 20 advertisers, Twitter has finally launched its self-serve ad platform. The new platform, which enables advertisers to use a self-serve system to purchase advertising without speaking to a human, currently allows the purchase of promoted accounts and promoted tweets. Twitter has indicated the new platform will be rolling out to a much larger group of advertisers in the coming weeks.
Matt Graves, Twitter’s PR representative, issued the following statement via email:
“These advertisers can now set up and run their own Promoted Products campaigns and pay via a credit card. This is an important step in continuing to grow Twitter’s business. Our Promoted Products can help small and medium-sized businesses build their audience on Twitter and better engage with the people they want to reach.”
Adam Bain, Twitter’s chief revenue officer, said Twitter advertisers do not seem to mind the restrictive 140 character limit and claimed that is partially due to promoted tweets resulting in much higher conversion rates than similar online channels. The 3% to 5% overall conversion rate for Twitter advertising is substantially higher than the typical 0.5% conversion rate traditional display ads produce. Bain said the higher conversion rate is due to the user engagement and stated “the return on investment for marketers is insane.”
Twitter’s global ad revenues are expected to reach $139.5 million in 2011, which is a 210% increase compared to 2010. Self-serve ads, which according to eMarketer account for approximately 60% of Facebook’s $3.8 billion dollars of annual revenue, should help Twitter capitalize on the small and medium sized companies.
Twitter advertising currently monetizes the site using Promoted Trends, Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts, and political advertising. The addition of the self-serve platform should immediately allow Twitter to monetize the site further and reach higher valuations moving forward.