At the end of January, we told you that Twitter plans to launch its own Ads API — an "application protocol interface" that would allow advertisers to run ads on Twitter automatically, at will — sometime this quarter.
Details are leaking out about how the API will work, and what it might allow advertisers to do. There's a lot of speculation, too.
Here's what we know:
... one source said Facebook makes twice the ad revenue from its API as from direct sales. Twitter seems very serious about an ad API’s potential. Mention of the ad API "is plastered over every single whiteboard in Twitter HQ," said one source.
TNW says that an Ads API will like mimic Google in the sense that advertisers will be asked to target users' presumed intent. In other words, if you tweet "I'm hungry!" you might be targeted with tweets or ads suggesting local restaurants.
We told you last year that intent is the hot spot for Twitter because the company doesn't know very much about its own users — account holders are not asked for much information when they start using the service.
Mashable says Twitter could generate $70 million annually from the promoted trends it already runs, because it can command up to $200,000 per campaign.
AllThingsD notes that promoted trends are the default choice of Twitter advertisers because they're the one thing that all users see on any given day. "Advertisers are still trying to get their heads around paid Twitter messages."
Twitter has already written rules into its terms for developers to account for an Ads API:
Twitter Ads. Twitter reserves the right to serve advertising via its APIs ("Twitter Ads"). If you decide to serve Twitter Ads once we start delivering them, we will share a portion of advertising revenue with you per our then-current terms and conditions.
Twitter's advertising blog, however, recently played up its large mobile audience, which it claims are more interested in branded messages than average users:
The average Twitter user follows five or more brands. Users who primarily access Twitter on mobile are 96% more likely to follow 11 or more brands. They are also 58% more likely to recall seeing an ad on Twitter than the average Twitter user.
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