Twitter to Beef Up Advertising Options Beyond Own Site

Twitter is reportedly planning to sell ads against tweets embedded on external websites and apps, which will allow the platform to reach consumers who don’t use Twitter.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, Twitter is claimed to have presented this idea to a panel of media buyers, naming ESPN and social network aggregation app Flipboard as potential partners. If the plan comes to fruition, Twitter would share ad revenue with the publishers.

Jonathan Rick, president of the eponymous communications firm specializing in social media management, doesn’t think Twitter’s idea is a bad one, though he thinks the company is proceeding in a haphazard way.

“Instead of focusing first on monetization, [Twitter] ought to focus on delighting customers. This is how Facebook and Google grew: by following the ‘if you build it, they will come’ playbook,” Rick says. “By contrast, Twitter seems to be following the ‘if we build it, they must be monetized’ playbook.

“Making money is the easy part; attracting a billion users is the hard part,” he adds.

For Tessa Wegert, communications director at the Michigan-based digital agency Enlighten, the advertisers will be the real winners in Twitter’s new advertising strategy.

“Brands are investing more and more in Twitter ads, and this would create an opportunity to advance that content to a larger pool of potential customers,” Wegert says. “Considering Twitter’s additional plans to amplify its video offerings this year, digital marketers might want to think about reevaluating their 2015 Twitter investments.”

In the coming weeks, a new native video offering will allow users to shoot, edit, and post videos directly on Twitter, rather than linking them from third-party platforms such as YouTube and Vine. HBO tested the format, releasing a teaser clip from the upcoming season of Game of Thrones.

Twitter also plans to introduce an auto-play feature that would play videos automatically, like Facebook does on users’ News Feeds. But unlike Facebook, which currently gets more than 1 billion video views every day, Twitter’s model will be available to advertisers on a pay-per-click basis.

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