Twitter takes major step forward in advertising with ads API launch

Today is a big day for Twitter. It has launched its advertising API and that means significant changes both for Twitter and its advertisers. For the first time, marketers can now easily create and manage ad campaigns and buy them through third parties.

Significantly, that allows a major increase in scale for Twitter’s advertising business and its ability to generate revenues, which are expected to rise from $350m (£230m) last year, to around $1bn (£658m) by 2014.

Until now, ad campaigns on Twitter have been managed manually. This has meant that while changes weren’t difficult to make it, could be time-consuming for someone running a global campaign.

The launch of the advertising API gives marketers a great deal more flexibility in being able to work with five initial third-party firms. The five partners that Twitter has announced for its Twitter Ads API are Adobe, HootSuite, Salesforce, Shift and TBG Digital.

Adam Bain, revenue chief at Twitter, tweeted: “Our Ads API launch today will help bring even better real-time marketer content to the platform. Marketers win by being good vs loud.”

The changes put Twitter on the same footing as Facebook and LinkedIn, which already have similar advertising systems in place. In Facebook’s case, that has fuelled its growth and now we can expect to see the same from Twitter, as more advertisers begin to use the 140-character platform.

Writing on the Twitter blog, April Underwood, product manager, revenue said: “What this means is that as marketers, you’ll soon have the ability to work with our initial set of Ads API partners to manage Twitter Ad campaigns – and integrate them into your existing cross-channel advertising strategies.

“Equally important, users will continue to see the most relevant Promoted Tweets from advertisers. With the Ads API, marketers now have more tools in their arsenal to help them deliver the right message, to the right audience, on the desktop and on mobile devices – all at scale.”

Twitter said it chose the five beta partners because they offer products that address some of the most pressing needs of marketers, and it is currently evaluating the next round of partners to join the programme.

With the five beta partners onboard, it is fair to say that Twitter will increase that number fairly quickly.

Twitter was also at pains to point out that it wants to ensure the experience for users remains unchanged and that the announcement did not mean more ads, but “better ads”.

Underwood wrote: “Since we launched Promoted Tweets in April 2010, marketers have come to Twitter to reach new audiences and engage with more than 200 million active Twitter users on the web, on mobile devices, and on tablets.

“As interest in Twitter has grown, our focus has been on delivering better ads for users, not more ads. We believe our system is working well, because users like the ads experience on Twitter.”