Google who's usually quick to announce its new roll-outs seem to be taking a somewhat more cautious approach with its "Twitter Ads," a new ad format to be distributed through their Adsense program. In limited beta, only a few advertisers have been invited to test a new means to promote their Twitter accounts on blog and content pages, alongside all of Google's other 'traditional' advertisers.
The clickable parts of the ad are the logo, the Twitter-username and the URL to the Twitter-profile. "The goal with the ad format is to recruit more followers for the advertiser´s Twitter-profile,” writes Magne Uppman, founder and managing director of Qualité Search Marketing, a firm based in Olso, Norway. Here is a sample of their Twitter ads
Qualité Search Marketing Twitter Ads via Google Adsense
The text "Follow me on Twitter" allows users to become a follower of the advertiser without leaving the content page where the ad exists. The ad is kept current in real-time with a Twitter feed of the company's most current tweet.
According to ClickZ report, Uppman who was invited by Google to join the beta test on May 7 has only seen a modest boost in followers as a result of the ads so far.
Google declined to address the program directly, but acknowledged that it was running a number of experiments with different technology partners.
"To provide more marketing opportunities for our advertisers to reach users in moments that are relevant and useful to them, we are currently testing different ways that allow advertisers to better update their ads in real time," wrote a Google spokesperson in an e-mail message. "We are currently in a limited test with a small number of advertisers and publishers."
Whether this type of advertising will become effective is a big question mark. Since the costs of these ads and the ROIs are unknowns at the present time, and unless Google opens this campaign up to the public - I would suspect advertisers would be skeptical to advertise their Twitter accounts via this distribution channel when there are so many other 'free' methods to do so.
While Google has worked with major brands such as Volvo in bringing 'live' Twitter feeds to display ads, I think the novelty of such an ad might wear off over time.
However Google's Adsense and Adword campaigns still remain the 'golden standard' in the online space. So much so, that Twitter's long-awaited ad platform now looks a lot like Google.
As we have already witnessed, Twitter's new ad program ties to Twitter searches, in the same way that Google's traditional search ads are. So, a search for example for the keyword, "tablet" may generate an ad for iPad. The ads only show up in search results, which means users are not inundated with a constant flow of ads in their Twitterstream.
As both worlds begin to converge more and more, I am sure we will see additional overlap. But presently, Google might be wise to work out the kinks of this "Twitter Ad" campaign, because I think it's going to need a lot more 'bells and whistles' attached before it becomes a viable ad vehicle. Your thoughts?