Twitter is opening its Advertising API (Application-Programming Interface), which will enable marketers to better use Twitter data streams to manage campaigns and improve targeting. For now it’s only open to five bid management technology suppliers (Salesforce’s Buddy Media, Adobe, TBG Digital, Hootsuite, and SHIFT). Mindshare use Saleforce’s BuyBuddy as our preferred partner and early results from limited beta test campaigns show promising results. A wider roll-out is expected in the near future.
The API will enable advertisers to layer in additional analytics, trends and insights as well as performance data to compile new audience profiles. In addition, the dashboards will take full advantage of the real-time reporting data, which will make targeting and set-up of multiple audiences a lot more manageable. Access to performance data and the rise and fall of trends will make for better and more engaging advertising, and marketers will be able to compare the performance of Twitter campaigns side-by-side with campaigns on other platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
Twitter specifically highlighted that the launch of the API has had no effect on its actual algorithms. A good user experience is still the main focus of the company; bad performing tweets will still be pulled, and the number of ads served won’t change.
As the Twitter platform becomes more attractive from a marketing perspective, users can expect more real-time ads that capitalize on trending topics such as Oreo’s rapid response to the recent #blackout during the Super Bowl. The net effect will be Twitter further cementing its emerging position as the “second-screen” of choice for advertisers and consumers. Given that simultaneous TV and smartphone usage is on the rise (85% of US smartphone users watch TV and use their mobile phones at the same time), Twitter’s scale in mobile users, and the fact it’s an experience built for small screens, gives it an edge in this space. Twitter’s recent acquisition of Bluefin (a social TV measurement tool) is a further demonstration of its intent to maintain its perceived leadership position over Facebook when it comes to second-screen advertising.
For advertisers, the API also means efficiencies both in terms of time spent managing Twitter campaigns, and better return of investment. The flip side is that lowering the entry barriers and increasing efficiencies will drive up competition. On an auction based platform, competition means increased cost of inventory. First movers will undoubtedly harvest the highest returns, while later adopters will find that their competitors have built quality, history and learning that could be costly to outbid.
The launch of the Twitter API is good news for marketers, and is expected to further accelerate the already robust growth in advertising spend on the platform. Twitter users should also get more engaging and timely ads, particularly ones like Oreo’s ‘dunk in the dark’ that react to trending topics in real-time. Now expect the next move in the social wars from Facebook.