Twitter opens advertising platform to small businesses

Twitter is opening its advertising doors to small UK businesses for the first time, the fist major marketing initiative since it went public amid pressure to generate more revenue.

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Twitter has partnered with O2 to boost advertising revenues from smaller companies.

It is the first time the social network has sold its Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts and Promoted Trends to smaller brands outside of America in the UK, Ireland and Canada. Previously, companies based outside of the US have had to develop a relationship with its sales teams in order to purchase ad space on the site.

The process had limited the effectiveness of Twitter for some marketers and stunted the site’s own ability to generate additional revenue.

To accelerate the self-service platform’s take-up in the UK, Twitter has partnered with O2 to offer best-practice and educational services to SMEs. The operator is also awarding £50 Twitter credit for marketers who use the tools to spend on the site.

SMEs using the products will only pay for the ads that people engage with such as following a Promoted Account or clicking on a Promoted Tweet. Marketers will not be charged for organic Twitter activity, according to the site.

Ravi Narasimhan, product manager at Twitter, says: “If you can Tweet, you can advertise on Twitter - all you need is a Twitter account and a credit card. You’re in control of your ads, the audience you want to reach, and of course your budget.”

The announcement comes amid concerns from the advertising industry that Twitter needs to offer more guidance, education, service and support to marketers in the wake of its IPO last week (7 November). The micro-blogging site claims followers feel an “emotional connection” to smaller brands using the platform, according to a study of 500 users. It revealed 63 per cent of people follow a SME to show their support for that business, while most users (85 per cent) say they feel “more connected” to that company after following it.

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