Twitter's basic ad unit is a tweet, which is why the company says it is having early success with mobile ads. But advertisers want more than just 140 characters, and Twitter is happy to help them out there, too.
That was the point of the TV ads Twitter bought Sunday -- to showcase what marketers can do when they get their hands on an actual Twitter webpage. And that is what Twitter hopes to point out in high-profile ad campaigns to come.
Twitter's NASCAR campaign shows what Twitter can do with a single keyword term -- and, presumably, what an advertiser can do once they purchase that keyword for a day (or more?). But Twitter has been steadily amping up what advertisers can do on Twitter.com for a couple years.
First it overhauled the site to make it easier to embed graphics and videos. The idea was to play up the notion that you didn't have to write a thing to enjoy Twitter -- you could just visit Twitter.com's "consumption environment" and look at the cool stuff other people, and/or advertisers, put up.
Then late last year it started offering brands their own pages, which made the message even clearer for advertisers: You can use our site to do more than put up Tweets -- you can stick videos on there, or even stuff that looks a whole lot like the big banner ads everyone says are dead but everyone keeps spending a lot of money on, anyway.
You'll see some combination of this stuff used throughout the summer, in the big Pepsi promotion that Twitter announced last month. It's also likely to come into play with the ad campaigns Twitter is trying to sell in conjunction with ESPN.
All of this is important to Twitter because while it hopes that the self-serve ads it launched earlier this year become the equivalent of Google's AdWords engine, it also wants cool stuff it can sell to the Pepsis of the world. Those guys want a whole lot more than tweets -- they want big honking web ads, like the kind they can still get at Yahoo or AOL -- but not at Facebook.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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