With the cost of the upcoming presidential campaign expected to far exceed $1 billion, yesterday afternoon Twitter decided it was time to throw its hat in the ring – for political advertisements.
Although Twitter just began displaying ads last year, revenues have multiplied exponentially and political advertisements could play a major role in continued revenue growth. It is natural for Twitter, which is a continual hub for political conversations and arguments, to attempt to monetize conversations through political advertisements.
Twitter’s president of global revenue said the following:
“We’ve had five years to watch and observe how people are using the platform organically and we know politicians are active on the platform, and we know that consumers enjoy the messages from those politicians. We are excited about the election cycle, and we think that ads both in the timeline and in search are a huge opportunity.”
Within minutes of the announcement, Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign displayed the first “promoted tweet” political ad.
The political promoted tweets will include several features to help Twitter users easily differentiate political ads from other promoted tweets. For example, Twitter is color coding all political promoted tweets with a purple check-mark instead of the orange check-mark promoted tweets typically have. Also, to ensure compliance with FEC-requirements, a popup message that states a message such as: “Paid for by Romney for President, Inc.” will appear in a hover box when Twitter users rolled over a political ad.
Twitter, who will have to fight traditional media, Facebook, and Google for every dollar of political advertising revenue, is currently building a political sales team in Washington. The political sales office will be led by Peter Greenberg who successfully managed Google’s first political sales team. Twitter’s new sales force has already lined up five presidential candidates and is promising to launch Twitter’s political advertising with a “splash.”
When asked why they chose a certain candidate, voters might just say, “A little bird told me to.”