Twitter Inc., seeking to boost revenue, said it will work with partners including Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE:US) and Salesforce.com Inc. (CRM:US) to sell advertising that appears alongside the social site’s 140-character status updates.
Using software that taps into Twitter’s ad platform, other companies will be able to sell promotions on its behalf and improve the relevancy of ads, Twitter said in a blog posting today. No financial terms were disclosed.
Twitter is following the approach of Facebook Inc. (FB:US), which has also enlisted outside software makers to sell ads on its social network. The alliances are aimed at helping businesses use tools such as Adobe’s Media Optimizer and Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud to place promotions simultaneously on multiple social-media sites, including Twitter, said Clark Fredricksen, vice president at EMarketer Inc.
“It will make it easier for companies that already buy ads on Facebook and other properties to also make buys on Twitter,” Fredricksen, who is based in New York, said in an interview.
The ad partnerships could help Twitter, which is preparing for an eventual initial public offering, reach its target of $1 billion in revenue in 2014. The site is projected to increase sales by 89 percent to $545.2 million this year, EMarketer estimated. Twitter has 200 million active users.
In addition to Adobe and Salesforce, the company will let marketers buy messages through Hootsuite Media Inc., TBG Digital Ltd. and GraphEffect Inc.
Salesforce customers, which include ad agencies Omnicom Group Inc. (OMC:US) and Razorfish Inc., will now be able to determine which promoted tweets, or sponsored messages, have the best chance of reaching a certain audience, said Michael Lazerow, chief marketing officer of Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
“When we can show our clients that these are the tweets you should buy as promoted tweets and we take the guesswork out of it, you have a significant increase in the results,” Lazerow said.
Twitter will still collect the full price paid by advertisers, while Salesforce can charge clients for other services, such as improving the targeting of those ads, Lazerow said.
Partners will tap into Twitter’s ad platform via an application programming interface, or API, that lets software programs exchange information and work with each other.
After Facebook opened its advertising API to outside developers, it spawned a cottage industry of startups like Buddy Media, the ad software company Lazerow co-founded and sold to Salesforce last year.
About 60 percent of Facebook’s advertising revenue in 2012 was generated by promotions purchased via third-party software, EMarketer estimated.
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