Twitter on Wednesday unveiled a new advertising API for its microblogging platform, a feature that the San Francisco-based startup hopes will encourage third-party developers to create advertising content tailored specifically for the social network.
Much like its social rival, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Twitter has faced continued skepticism about its monetization capabilities despite the network’s ever-expanding popularity. Features like promoted posts help assuage prospective advertisers somewhat, but the return on investment is rarely as clear as brands want it to be, particularly if a business that already has a strong social media presence can get the same results with its own Twitter handles alone.
New ideas like the American Express (NYSE:AXP) partnership with Twitter to “unlock the purchasing power of the #Hashtag,” meanwhile, are promising but entirely untested. An advertising API, in contrast, gives businesses room to develop their own unique content while still remaining firmly entrenched within the Twitter ecosystem.
“Since we launched Promoted Tweets in April 2010, marketers have come to Twitter to reach new audiences and engage with more than 200 million active Twitter users on the Web, on mobile devices and on tablets,” Twitter’s revenue product manager April Underwood said in a blog post announcing the API Wednesday. “As interest in Twitter has grown, our focus has been on delivering better ads for users, not more ads.”
Despite Twitter’s reputation for inviting users -- be they average customers or fully fledged businesses -- to overshare in every conceivable way possible, the focus on “better ads” rather than simply having “more ads” shows that the company is once again realizing the benefits of expanding its core services beyond 140 characters.
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“We believe our system is working well, because users like the ads experience on Twitter,” Underwood added. “Our system rewards marketers for being good, not for being loud. And this approach encourages ads that are engaging, relevant and useful.”
The new API was, therefore, designed to give advertisers "the ability to work with our initial set of Ads API partners to manage Twitter Ad campaigns -- and integrate them into your existing cross-channel advertising strategies," Underwood said.
The API is being launched with five starting partners: Adobe, Hootsuite, Salesforce, SHIFT and TBG Digital.