Twitter grabbed headlines with the announcement of its new look and features—aimed at both users and brand pages. At the same press conference, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and co-founder Jack Dorsey also said they would be rolling out the previously announced self-serve ad product early next year, according to a Tweet by Reuters.
Other than that, Twitter was its usual close-lipped self, wrote Medibistro's All Twitter. "For a company that doesn’t like to give out dates for anything, [early next year] is as specific as we’re going to get." It is unclear whether the product will be made generally available or just available to its 2,400 advertising partners, All Twitter noted.
Announced in early December, the self-serve ad platform is seen as Twitter's way of targeting small and medium sized businesses. Self-serve adds account for some 60% of Facebook’s global advertising revenue, and Twitter should be able to make inroads in this business constituency "since companies will be able to buy ads with a credit card with no human involvement," eMarketer senior analyst Debra Aho Williamson told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Small Biz Finding Less Barriers to Social Media
A self-serve Twitter ad platform dovetails with a key SMB social media trend: barriers to its use are falling for this group, according to a report from Constant Contact. Data from the "Fall 2011 Attitudes and Outlook Survey" found that 83% of small business respondents who use social media marketing do so because it has a low cost, up 15% from Spring 2011, while 67% cite its ease of use, up 24%.
Other perceived barriers have also fallen in the past 6 months: 45% of small businesses using social media marketing say it does not take a lot of time, up 45% of respondents from the Spring, while 51% say it works for their customers, also up 45% from the previous study.
Overall, 81% of the small businesses surveyed report using social media marketing, up from 73% in the Spring 2011 survey, with 47% saying their use of social media has increased substantially.