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March 17, 2009

Is Twitter Testing Ads?

A new feature appearing on Twitter has everyone.. well… Twittering today. A short time after Twitter posted about un-scheduled maintenance this morning, people started noticing in-line text *notices* appearing below their Twitter stats when they logged into the web based application (see example pictured).

For now, the so-called notices simply define a couple of Twitter services including Twitter Search and Twitter Widgets. The notices include a linked headline that takes people to the service being defined.

To my eyes, the notices looked very similar to AdWords style ads and I  immediately tweeted asking if anyone else was thinking what I was:

“Has Twitter decided to achieve monetization via Pay Per Click advertising?”

A quick Twitter search for *twitter ads* and *twitter monetization* confirmed others were thinking the same thing.

One by one, people began to notice the changes and started to tweet about them:

Twitter users and industry pundits have been predicting for months now that Twitter will roll out a monetization model. It looks like this is a sneak preview of that model, although there is nothing on the Twitter Blog announcing such a move. If they really are testing a PPC model, I think it’s a wise move.

I’m not sure how effective a single ad unit will be, but perhaps they will test and rollout multiple ad units in time. As for the ad channel content, no word yet whether the advertising will come from one of the major PPC providers or be a network of Twitter’s own making (although the former would be much more viable and less costly to implement). Perhaps Twitter is close to an announcement of a partnership with Google, Yahoo or MSN. I’ll be keeping a close eye on developments.

Update: A little birdie told me that Twitter Japan already displayed ads so I went digging and found this TechCrunch article confirming this little nugget of information. But I wanted to know if Twitter Japan was displaying the new information notices AS WELL AS the display ads. To check, I had to change my default language to Japanese and login to Twitter again. Voila! proof positive that Twitter Japan is publishing display ads in addition to these new notices. So perhaps Twitter.com will use display ads in the near future and leave the new text blurbs as information notices. It’s all speculation at this point.

In the meantime, what do YOU think? Do you think Twitter should be monetized? Is pay per click advertising a viable method for Twitter monetization? Please comment below.

8 Responses to “Is Twitter Testing Ads?

    […] Read more over at my SiteProNews blog: Is Twitter Testing Ads? […]

    avatar Rick Simmons says:

    Not sure I really understand a question like – “Do you think Twitter should be monetized?” Unless you make it a pay service how will it be paid for – the advertising model while certainly flawed has some intrinsic value of enabling things to continue with an illusion of free if done properly. If not advertising how else would you allow the investors of Twitter see any money – FREE? HA! – sorry we are not quite that socialistic yet.

    avatar Chris Dowell says:

    In order to grow, capital is needed. Twitter can charge the consumer or do ads. I think if they started charging the consumer, people will jump off and head over to another site. Ads can be good.

    avatar Gary Keating says:

    I am a very active user and have seen what you have described under the profile section and it is non offensive to me. I just don’t want pop ups coming to the site this would be very bad. even peal away adds would be ok Look or don’t look at them. They need some form of income as they have a lot of investors needing some kind of return for they investment.

    […] last week I blogged about what appeared to be in-line text advertisements being tested on Twitter? Well it’s been confirmed: Twitter WAS testing […]

    avatar SeoFlex says:

    “Has Twitter decided to achieve monetization via Pay Per Click advertising?” => Probably

    avatar CkBody says:

    these things always start with free services and you start participating and before you know it your stuck with paid services, banners or pop-up annoying things.
    What will be next for Twitter and who is the new Twitter?

    avatar orangedwarf says:

    am not into Twitter. Can someone tell me how or offer me a reference how best make use of Twitter as marketing tool?
    greets

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