Twitter to Launch Ad Platform Soon

Updated: Twitter will roll out an official advertising platform, likely within the next month or so, one of the company’s executives told an advertising-industry conference, according to a report in Media Post. Anamitra Banerji, head of product management and monetization at Twitter, apparently made the comment in response to a question from a panel moderator at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting on Monday.

Update: According to one source in the media industry, Twitter may launch its new advertising platform at the South by Southwest conference, which starts March 12. The social network is apparently working with several major partners for the launch, including “new and traditional media,” the source said. Choosing the music and interactive media conference to usher in the advertising platform would be fitting, since the use of Twitter during Sarah Lacy’s interview with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg at SXSW in 2007 was seen by many as a tipping point for the service.

Twitter is working on an ad platform, Banerji reportedly told Media Post following the panel, but currently it’s “only in the test phase.” People are constantly “talking and engaging with brands, sharing their feedback,” during events such as the SuperBowl, he said during the panel, asking the conference delegates: “What if brands start to participate?” He added that 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.”

Twitter recently revealed that it has grown to the point where it is receiving and distributing 50 million tweets a day, or about 600 every second. That puts the social network up in Facebook territory. With that kind of growth, it makes sense that the company would want to take advantage of that user base and provide advertisers with a way to reach and target them. What remains to be seen is how the service implements ads, and whether or not users revolt against the commercialization of their social network.

There are already several companies trying to take advantage of advertising in Twitter streams, including IZEA — formerly known as PayPerPost — and, which allegedly pays celebrities like Kim Kardashian thousands of dollars to tweet about various products and services. It will be interesting to see what happens to these and other “sponsored tweet” services when Twitter eventually rolls out its official platform.

Some Twitter users say they will stop using the service if advertising becomes prevalent in their streams (but may be willing to pay a fee to keep it out), while others say that they welcome advertising and look forward to having Twitter target them based on the hashtags or keywords they use. What do you think? Will advertising change your experience or make you use Twitter less?

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Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user (michelle)