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Twitter Ad Plan: Copy Google by Peter Kafka Posted on February 26, 2010 at 9:04 AM PT What will Twitter long-awaited ad platform look like? Something like Googles. That the general description of Twitters plan, according to people who have been briefed by the company. Here are the very broad strokes: Ads will be tied to Twitter searches, in the same way that Google (GOOG) original ads were. So a search for, say, laptop,may generate an ad for Dell (DELL). The ads will only show up in search results, which means users who dont search for something wont see them in their regular Twitterstream...
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Twitter Ad Plan: Copy Google
by Peter Kafka
Posted on February 26, 2010 at 9:04 AM PT

What will Twitter long-awaited ad platform look like? Something like Googles.
That the general description of Twitters plan, according to people who have been briefed by the company.

Here are the very broad strokes:

Ads will be tied to Twitter searches, in the same way that Google (GOOG) original ads were. So a search for, say, laptop,may generate an ad for Dell (DELL). The ads will only show up in search results, which means users who dont search for something wont see them in their regular Twitterstreams.
The ads will use the Twitter format or fewer characters and will be distributed via the third-party software and services that use Twitters API. The services will have the option of displaying the ads, and Twitter will share revenue with those that do.
Twitter will work with ad agencies and buyers to seed the program, but plans on moving to a self-serve model like Googles, down the road.
The caveats: Everyone Ive talked to cautions that the plans are evolving and that there are plenty of details to work out. Including a launch date, though it seems as if the first half of this year is a very safe bet.

But at first blush, this seems like a relatively straightforward way for Twitter to get into advertising, without upsetting its growing user base: You wont see the ads unless you use Twitter to search for something, and Twitters advertisers will have at least a vague idea of what youre interested in.

There are lots of gritty details that Twitter either hasnt worked out or hasnt disclosed to the people Ive talked to. For instance:

How will advertisers buy and price the ads? Will they use a Google-like cost-per-click model or something else?
Twitter searches are popular, but very crude. Can Twitter refine them to make them more useful to users?
Google%u2019s ads work because Google has reasonably good idea of both users intent and identity. Twitter knows much less about its users. How can it gather enough data to make its targeting more meaningful?
Twitter has been careful not to position its ad plan as the core of its business. And the company has made a point of stressing that its initial ad rollout, like other initiatives its launching this year, are merely tests

That one of the of ideas behind the $100 million funding roundTwitter closed last summert gives the company the time to play around with different business models. But this one seems to have plenty of potential.

About Peter

Peter Kafka has been covering media and technology since 1997, when he joined the staff of Forbes magazine. Most recently, he has been the managing editor of the tech and media Web site, Silicon Alley Insider. Read more

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