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What Twitter's Ad API Means for Social Advertising

Posted by admin on 3/20/13 11:00 PM
Topics: social media, facebook

The following excerpt is from an article written by Tim Peterson, staff writer, and published on To learn more about Twitter's ad API and how it can help retailers further their reach, view the full article.

Advertising on Twitter just got easier. As previously reported by Adweek and TechCrunch, the social platform has rolled out an ad API that will let social marketing developers buy Twitter ads within the dashboards marketers already use to manage their Twitter and Facebook accounts and campaigns.

Twitter has been testing the API since last month with its launch partners, which include Salesforce, Adobe, TBG Digital, HootSuite and Shift, the company said in a blog post announcing the news.

The biggest implication of the ad API is that advertisers will be able to run more campaigns on Twitter in a quicker, more automated fashion. Previously, either advertisers or the social ad firms they hired had to manually create and execute a Promoted Tweet campaign one at a time. The API would let them create conceivably dozens of campaigns simultaneously.

That could lead to more ads in users' Twitter streams, though Twitter’s product manager for revenue April Underwood said that won’t be the case. "The ads API is not focused on bringing more ads to users. The genesis of why we’re building it is focused on simplifying the ads-buying experience for marketers," Underwood said, emphasizing that it will have "no bearing on the volume of ads users will see." Translation: If Twitter sees an ad isn’t performing, it will pull it just as has historically been the case.

Instead, Twitter seems to be banking on API partners' ability to let advertisers create more targeted campaigns.

The API also enhances advertisers' targeting capabilities. Twitter made strides last year by adding interest-level targeting, but API partners would be able to layer in their own analytics as well as advertisers’ customer data to compile new audience profiles. Advertisers can also take advantage of the real-time reporting data flowing through the partners’ dashboards in order to shift their budgets, Underwood said.

"Because we have a robust listening solution and engagement solution, we can listen to what people are saying [on Twitter about a brand] and engage with them and take any of their tweets and promote them," said Michael Lazerow, chief marketing officer of Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

The API could further solidify Twitter's position as the second-screen ad platform of choice. Currently, if advertisers want to take advantage of a topic that’s trending on Twitter, they have to check Twitter just like any other user to see what’s trending, and then add that hashtag or keyword to their Promoted Tweet campaign. But TBG Digital CEO Simon Mansell said API partners could add a feed next to the ad creation workflow to pull in real-time trending topics that can immediately be appended to the ad.

Another option would be for an advertiser to specify some evergreen keywords to run ads against if they ever start trending. These trend-targeted campaigns would only appear on Twitter search pages for those topics, but in the case of Super Bowl #blackout, that could be just fine. TBG Digital has five clients live or nearly live using the Twitter ad API, Mansell said. One of those clients saw a 61 percent reduction in the cost per engagement since using the API, while another spent $40,000 during the Super Bowl as a "stress test" for the tool.

Adobe also shared some results of its first Twitter campaigns using the new ad API. Adobe Marketing Cloud saw its follower base swell by 63 percent while reducing the cost of each follower by nearly 60 percent to roughly $2.

Shift tested the API with its client Radio Shack and saw a 40 percent increase in engagement rates, said CEO James Borow. He didn't want to give away too much of the secret sauce, but attributed the performance boost to Twitter's new ability to handle more targeting at scale. "We were able to go ahead and try out a large quantity of different targeting groups and reach different people interested in different things on Twitter," he said.

Would your store use Twitter for advertising? Tell us your opinion in the comments section.

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