Twitter Tests Showing More Ads to People on the Platform

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

The financial successes of platforms like Facebook have shown that social media consumers are willing to put up with advertisements to access the content they enjoy. Facebook has been the dominating force in social media advertising for years, and other platforms are still struggling to catch up.

In their attempts to improve their advertising situation, the experience of using Twitter may change for many uses. Twitter recently began some tests that suggest the platform is looking for new ways to boost its ad revenue. Further tests, which have been confirmed by Twitter, are gauging how consumers respond to seeing more ads on the platform.

Since Twitter became a publicly-traded company several years ago, the firm has been under pressure to increase ad revenue and profits. Twitter lacks the algorithms and audience network that makes Facebook so valuable to marketers, so the process has been slower. But over time, more businesses are including Twitter in their advertising mix.

To make the most of this momentum, and to increase its ad revenue, Twitter is experimenting with ways to show more ads to people using the platform. The details of the test haven’t been confirmed, but preliminary analysis suggests that ads are being shown more frequently to certain users.

Twitter confirmed that the tests were happening, but provided little additional information about the exact parameters of the test.  In a statement to Bloomberg, a Twitter spokesperson wrote, “We are always running experiments with our ad experience, including with the various aspects of ad frequency and targeting.”

The tests appear to utilize user behavior to determine the frequency of ads shown. If a person spends a lot of time on Twitter, no matter how many ads they see, the platform will increase the rate of ads. On the other hand, if a user closes the app after seeing too many ads, Twitter will show them fewer ads in the future.

It’s too early to know the results of the test, but some media reports suggest the results have been mixed. According to a report from Buzzfeed News, this experiment apparently led to an excessive amount of spammy ads getting through. Twitter confirmed the accounts running malicious ads were removed once the issue was brought to Twitter’s attention.

It’s worth noting that theoretically, “some users may never see any ads on Twitter depending on how they engage with the platform,” as was noted by Matt Southern of Search Engine Journal.

This change from Twitter has the potential to make the platform more useful to marketers. If Twitter can fine-tune it’s targeting so that only people who are likely to engage see advertisements, marketers can spend less money trying to reach audiences that avoid ads

For more information about recent updates and changes to Twitter, read this article on Twitter’s recent test to see how adding a “hide replies” feature will affect engagement on the platform.


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