Home Is Twitter Testing a New Ad Format? Nope

Is Twitter Testing a New Ad Format? Nope

Earlier this morning, we noticed a blog post that claimed that Twitter had started to test a new ad format on its users’ profile pages today. These ads, which only one user had noticed, were supposedly text ads that appeared right under a user’s follower numbers. Twitter is currently showing free ads for Twitter-related applications in this space. This would have been a very interesting story. The reality, however, isn’t quite as exciting. The user who first noticed these ‘new’ ads simply forgot that she had installed the Power Twitter plugin for Firefox.

Power Twitter gives users a large number of additional functions that extend Twitter’s own home page – and you pay for all of this power by allowing Power Twitter to insert an ad on your profile page (that only you will see).

A Cautionary Tale

To some degree, this is really a cautionary tale, as we almost fell for this story ourselves. Only after we asked the Twitter user for screenshots did we realize that the user obviously had Power Twitter installed. This was an honest mistake all around – both by the Twitter user and by the blogger who first jumped on this story. A new ad format on Twitter, after all, would have been a great story to break.

As of now, though, the story about the ads is starting to spread on Twitter, and it will be interesting to see how far it spreads before users notice that Twitter isn’t actually testing a new ad format on its profile pages.

But This Would Be a Smart Way for Twitter to Advertise

The ad format that Power Twitter chose, however, makes a lot of sense – not just for PowerTwitter but also for Twitter itself. One interesting aspect of the ads in Power Twitter, which tend to be for relatively obscure products and companies, is that the ads give you the option to forward the ad to your own Twitter stream. This format, we think, would make a lot of sense for Twitter as well.

By allowing users to essentially forward these ads to all of their Twitter followers, Twitter wouldn’t have to insert them into a user’s stream itself. This would also give Twitter and its advertisers a very good metric for consumer engagement. After all, if a user is willing to tweet about an ad, that’s a very strong sign that the ad was relevant to the user and, by extension, also probably relevant to the user’s followers.

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