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American Express

Advertising made easy! Twitter and American Express do a deal for smaller businesses

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By Noel Young, Correspondent

February 23, 2012 | 3 min read

Twitter is rolling out an easy-to-use ad platform to 10,000 small and midsize businesses through a partnership with American Express . Although the self-serve platform is only in the US at the moment, it will be offered in the UK later this year.

Twitter: Easy ads for smaller businesses

American Express card members and merchants are now registering to use the platform on a first-come, first-serve basis. They will also get $100 in advertising credits to put toward bidding on promoted tweets, says Ad Age .

There will be no bills arriving in the mail. Self-serve lets advertisers make electronic payments instead of being invoiced by the sales team. Advertisers of course have to have American Express cards.

CEO Dick Costolo described the self-serve platform as a "key development for Twitter."

"Millions of small businesses have been using Twitter effectively for years. Opening up our ad platform to them is a mechanism for promoted tweets on a cost-per-engagement basis" he told AdAge.

"Small businesses can bid for promoted accounts on a cost-per-follower basis and for promoted tweets on a cost-per-engagement basis."

In the latter case. They pay only when users actively engage with the tweet (by retweeting, for instance.)

"National brands might be bidding on keywords or hashtags associated with major events like the Oscars, which makes bidding expensive, but small businesses would be more likely to bid on highly specific terms and to localise their bids, according to Costolo.

Twitter currently allows for city-level targeting at its most specific.

One successful campaign was by Glennz Tees, an online T-shirt retailer in Texas. After a character on a show wore a Glennz shirt, the owners took to their Twitter account and bought up terms related to the show. Costolo said they doubled their Christmas sales over the previous year and tripled their Twitter followers.

Twitter's ad revenue in 2011 was $139.5 million and is expected to grow to $259.9 million this year and $540 million by 2014.

The self-serve platform will go live for the first group of 10,000 businesses in the US in late March and the UK will follow later in the year, said a UK spokeswoman.

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