AdTweets: Twitter Testing Self-Serving Advertising Platform

This one’s been coming for a long time – Twitter has begun testing out a new Google Adwords-a-like self-serving ad platform that it plans to roll out later in 2011, reports MediaPost.

Clix Marketing Founder David Szetela began supporting a handful of clients this week. Among them, Guy Kawasaki, who signed on to promote his forthcoming book: Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions.

Advertisers participating in the program must commit to three months, Szetela says. “Twitter plans to open up the platform to other beta users in February,” he adds.

The self-serve platform lets advertisers create two types of campaigns: Promoted Tweets, which encourage users to engage with the tweet; and Promoted Accounts, which aims to increase the number of followers for an account.

Similar to Facebook, Google AdWords and Microsoft adCenter, Twitter’s self-serve platform requires the advertiser to enter a name, and date and time to run the campaign. It also asks for “interests” and “search keywords,” as well as a maximum bid and daily budget.

“Interests” refer to words in profiles Twitter members write to describe themselves such as favorite books, music, clubs and industry associations. The interest topics and keywords relevant to the campaign assist in targeting campaigns. In Facebook there are about 16,000 interest categories that advertisers can use to target members, Szetela says.

It also partially clears up questions I’ve had before about what happens to retweeted ads:

Retweets can be Promoted, but Twitter requires confirmation that the person turning the retweet into a Promoted Tweet has the authority to use it. For example, if AOL Cofounder Steve Case retweeted a tweet by Guy Kawasaki, Case would need to give Kawasaki permission to run the retweet as a Promoted Tweet.

And with a rich variety of options there should be something here for every brand and marketer.

There are several ad payment options: Pay for engagement events (CPE), Pay for impressions (CPM) or Exclusive for daily Promoted Trends. CPE costs the advertiser a minimum of 10 cents each time someone clicks on the link in the tweet, as well as retweets, @replies or favorites for the Promoted Tweet.

Promoted Accounts aim to help companies increase their follower base on Twitter. When there is a relevant recommendation, a Promoted Account will show in the first position down the right rail. Promoted Accounts are suggested to users based on similar Twitter accounts they already follow.

When an advertiser promotes an account, Twitter’s algorithm looks at existing accounts that the person follows, as well as keywords targeted to determine when to show an impression. The advertiser is charged when a user chooses to follow the account.

The self-serve platform also integrates analytics tools that allow advertisers to determine return on investment (ROI).

Incidentally, it’s not called AdTweets, but it might as well be (hat tip to Stefan Wolpers). I like the promoted accounts feature, which hopefully will provide the same conversion rates as promoting your page on Facebook, which works brilliantly for the right brands.

Could be a huge step towards Twitter’s march towards sustainable (and impressive) profitability.

(Source: MediaPost.)