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Twitter explores expansion of programmatic ad offerings

When it comes to programmatic offerings, Twitter has lagged behind its social media competition. However, it’s testing the waters with a brand new service that’s been recruiting publishers for a new kind of partnership.

In May, the company unveiled a pilot program called Twitter Timeline AdsAccording to a report from Marketing Land, the network will offer to place ads in the timelines embedded within a publisher’s website. The pilot program is currently taking applications and will first be available to invited US publishers only.

To apply, publishers must fill out a form that gives their name, email and website. There is no official word at this point when the pilot program will launch.

Twitter’s Business page offers some details on what publisher’s can expect from Timeline Ads. In the service’s official page, it states that the “Twitter Timeline network is the first ad program that allows publishers to offer real-time content to their audiences and drive incremental revenue with targeted ads.”

A large piece of Twitter’s existing programmatic offerings are handled by MoPub, an advertising platform that the social network acquired in 2013. The Twitter Audience Platform (TAP) is managed by MoPub, which allows advertisers to extend their campaign’s reach to apps and other mobile platforms.

Released in 2014, TAP’s features are comparable to those of Google Display Network, Doubleclick Ad Exchange, and Facebook’s Audience Network. It’s first ad offerings included options for app installs and re-engagement ads. Since then, promoted videos and tweets have also been made available for advertisers. More than half of Twitter’s revenue in the first quarter of this year was a result of video per Marketing Land.

Part of Twitter’s strategy when it comes to programmatic advertising is to make sure it also gets personal with the audiences they reach. In a 2015 report by Digiday, MoPub found that publishers were generating more advertising revenue by forging relationships with a select number of buyers as opposed to holding an open auction for all ad positions. Twitter has found that a hybrid mix of a private marketplace for preferred partners coupled with the advantages of automated campaigns can be very effective.

As technology has evolved, advertisers have been allocating more and more of their budget to programmatic solutions in recent years. In a recent forecast, eMarketer projected that over $46 billion will go to programmatic advertising in the US this year. Approximately 83 percent of all US digital display ads will be bought through automation in 2018.

The want for programmatic in the industry aligns closely with Twitter’s goals to expand their business. During the release of their Q1 earnings report, Twitter stated their plans to “tap into new channels of demand” according to Marketing Land. Their executives also stated that ad revenue opportunities would be prioritized around enhancing their advertising offerings.

Hence, Twitter Timeline Ads. The pilot program could be a boon for companies looking for more programmatic advertising options. Only time will tell if Twitter Timeline Ads proves to be a winning combination for Twitter and the companies that use it.

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