Twitter is testing a hashtag-based ad platform that might be launched in a few months, according to a news report.
The move was rumoured by Seth Goldstein, CEO of socialmedia.com, during the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting 2010 in California.
Declining to confirm exactly when Twitter would release the platform, Anamitra Banerji, head of product management and monetization at Twitter, told MediaPost following the panel that "we are working on an ad platform, but it's only in the test phase."
Banerji told MediaPost that the ad platform, it will make it "explicitly clear that a sponsor paid for the ad", and make it "relevant and useful".
These ads will appear as Twitter messages with hashtag in update as a temporary "workaround" and Twitter says its engineering team is still working on better idea.
Banerji added, "We don't really control the ads or the way the tweets are viewed and then consumed. We are completely open around other people innovating around us. Ultimately, publishers should have choice. But the one area of concern for us -- and that's if bad ads get identified in Twitter -- it's a problem for us in the long term. So, we should do whatever we can to encourage positive behavior."
During the panel, Banerji presented a chart that demonstrated peaks and the total number of tweets during the Super Bowl. One blue line represents tweets about the game. The red line represents tweets about brands and ads during the game. A spike during the final touchdown of the game corresponds to 50% of tweets on Twitter at that moment.
Twitter sees this sort of user behavior across the site all the time, Banerji said. "People are constantly talking and engaging with brands, sharing their feedback," he explained before the panel transitioned into a question-and-answer session. "What if brands start to participate? What would the chart look like then?"
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