Twitter Ad Platform 'Imminent'
Declining to confirm exactly when Twitter would release the platform, Anamitra Banerji, head of product management and monetization at Twitter, told MediaPost following the panel that "we are working on an ad platform, but it's only in the test phase."
During the panel, Banerji presented a chart that demonstrated peaks and the total number of tweets during the Super Bowl. One blue line represents tweets about the game. The red line represents tweets about brands and ads during the game. A spike during the final touchdown of the game corresponds to 50% of tweets on Twitter at that moment.
Twitter sees this sort of user behavior across the site all the time, Banerji said. "People are constantly talking and engaging with brands, sharing their feedback," he explained before the panel transitioned into a question-and-answer session. "What if brands start to participate? What would the chart look like then?"
There's a movement in Twitter to include hash tags in tweets to suggest the messages represent ads. Banerji said when Twitter launches an ad platform, the company will make it "explicitly clear that a sponsor" paid for the ad, and make it "relevant and useful, so the user doesn't think of it as an ad."
Banerji called the hash tag ads a "workaround," for now. Twitter engineers have a better idea what will and won't work, he said.
Goldstein, who also co-chairs the IAB social media committee, coaxed Banerji to share details on the "imminent" Twitter ad platform by asking questions such as "you were at Overture before, so what did you learn from that experience" when it comes to "developing the first search ads you're putting into Twitter?"
"Innovate very, very quickly, before someone innovates on top of you," Banerji said. "And be very, very focused on execution. Just be dedicated to your own roadmap and don't worry so much about what's happening around you."
Goldstein also asked, you will "likely in the next month or so offer Twitter owned and operated ads, perhaps?" to which Banerji replied, "that's right."
Completing the question, Goldstein asked how Twitter will manage that while supporting the ability to let a "thousand flowers bloom around the ecosystem?"
"We don't think of ourselves as a Web site -- essentially it's a platform," Banerji said. "We don't really control the ads or the way the tweets are viewed and then consumed. We are completely open around other people innovating around us. Ultimately, publishers should have choice. But the one area of concern for us -- and that's if bad ads get identified in Twitter -- it's a problem for us in the long term. So, we should do whatever we can to encourage positive behavior."