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Twitter Unveils Self-Service Ad Platform for Leaner Budgets

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Small businesses have a new suitor for their online advertising dollars: Twitter. The microblogging site recently began unveiling its self-service ad platform for small businesses. Slated to launch in late March, the platform will allow advertisers with leaner budgets to access the Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts features.

To kick things off, Twitter is offering $100 in free ads to the first 10,000 small businesses that register with an American Express card. Not an AmEx cardholder? You’ll have to wait until the self-service ad platform rolls out to everyone. In the meantime, if you do some or all of your advertising online, it might behoove you to keep tabs on the platform’s initial performance.

The exclusive deal with AmEx is reminiscent of the card issuer’s previous partnership with Facebook. That arrangement offered local businesses a similar $100 Facebook Ads credit as part of the first two Small Business Saturday campaigns. The Twitter offer requires businesses to follow @AmericanExpress as part of the registration process.

Only time will tell whether Twitter can deliver a return on relatively small ad buys. But the self-service option certainly gives small businesses another choice. Though Twitter has sold advertising for a while, CNBC points out that it previously required minimum budgets and long-term commitments. Soon anyone with a credit card will be able to run a campaign, just like they can with Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, and other popular online channels.

In a blog post announcing the expanding platform, Twitter credited small business users as early, innovative adopters of the site as a whole. “They were the first to use Twitter to talk with consumers in real time, and their creativity demonstrated Twitter’s potential as a marketing platform,” the company says. “Today, some of the most effective marketing campaigns we see come from small, local, or internet-only businesses.”

That’s high praise, but consider the source: The new suitor who’s after your advertising budget’s heart.

Kevin Casey has worked for more than 11 years as a writer and editor at companies large and small. He is a regular contributor here and at InformationWeek. Follow him at twitter. com/kevinrcasey. View all posts by Kevin Casey This entry was posted in Marketing, Social Media and tagged advertising, AMEX, Facebook, google adwords, online advertising, Twitter. Bookmark the permalink.
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