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In a partnership with American Express, Twitter will roll out the self-serve ad platform it’s been testing to 10,000 SMBs next month. It will enable SMBs to manage their marketing campaigns and budgets without sales representatives. Only SMBs that accept or use American Express cards are eligible to use the platform. To kickstart the effort, American Express will provide $100 in Twitter ads to the first 10,000 qualified U.S. SMBs that sign up.

SMBs can set bids for promoted accounts on a cost-per-follower basis and for promoted tweets on a cost-per-engagement basis. Twitter will only charge for ads when users actively engage with the tweet by deciding to follow the business, retweet or clicks on a link.

Self-serve is Twitter’s latest power move to solidify itself as an effective online marketing tool like search giant Google and fellow social network Facebook. EMarketer projects that Twitter’s ad revenues in 2011 were $139 million and will grow to $260 million by the end of this year. However, Twitter will have to scale the number of SMBs using the platform before seeing record growth from self-serve. In the meantime, the company is also focused on reaching the political ad market and scaling its international ad offerings.

Leslie Berland, American Express’s vice president of digital partnerships and development, will speak next month at ILM East on the intersection of local and digital.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Is there any indication as to whether Twitter plans for this to become their main source of revenue? Are they planning on “local” to be their main cash cow? Or is it just a side business for them?

  2. I find it really interesting to see AMEX getting deeper and deeper into the local space.

    It makes real sense as a value add to their local merchants. However, we all know how difficult the local space really is. That said, maybe the local space is just difficult if you’re trying to monetise it, and if instead you’re actually not trying to monetise it (and just drive more traffic to your own existing merchants that you’re monetising already through merchant fees) then maybe AMEX really have a good idea here.

    Wonder if Visa and Mastercard will get in on the local act too?

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