Twitter ad strategy reaps rewards

26 January 2011

NEW YORK: eMarketer has predicted strong ad sales for Twitter this year, with the micro-blogging site's ad revenues expected to treble to $150m (€110m, £94m).

According to the research firm, US sales will predominate, and will be responsible for $140m of this year's total, along with $25m of the $250m forecast for 2012.

In 2010, Twitter's total ad revenues were just $45m.

The revenue growth has come mainly due to the success of Twitter's promoted tweets system, through which advertisers pay to have tweets appear on trending topics lists and on top of search results.

According to latest figures, Twitter's global user base exceeds 175m.

Facebook, the world's largest social media platform, has over 500m, and eMarketer said the site generated ad revenue of $1.86bn for 2010.

Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer's principal analyst, said: "If Twitter can grow its user base and convince marketers of its value as a go-to secondary player to Facebook, it will succeed in gaining revenue.

"In 2011 it must work overtime to give its early advertisers a positive experience."

Big brands have already found a measure of success by using Twitter for marketing purposes.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Joshua Clifton, a manager at Nissan, which based a 24-hour Twitter campaign around a recent US motor show, said that both click rates and the number of users who retweeted the original messages exceeded the advertiser's initial forecasts.

"We wanted to make ourselves top of mind and be in that part of the conversation ... Our reach was pretty strong," he said.

As reported on Warc, Coca-Cola was also an early adopter of promoted tweets, using the service to boost its profile during last year's football World Cup.

The company generated thousands of fan messages and conversations with @cocacola and a 200% increase in replies.

Data sourced from eMarketer/Bloomberg/Warc; additional content by Warc staff