Big talker Place ad messages in Twitter tweets with MagPie

Posted by tom klein November 4, 2008

Twitter is a star on the social scene, but few advertisers have been able to capitalize on its success. The trick here- and with all advertising – is finding a way to reach your target audience, without crashing the party.

A service called Magpie may have found the way. MagPie is an unaffiliated Twitter ad network, where Twitter users lease out their “tweets” as advertising vehicles. Here’s how it works- advertisers create a simple text-based message, then bid on keywords associated with their campaign. If we were trying to drum up readership for feed growth! – we know, feed growth! sells itself, but bare with us for the example – we might bid on keywords like “digital marketing” or “social media”. The MagPie network matches Twitter users to our ad, based on the the topics they frequently Twitter on. So someone like Guy Kawasaki would be pay dirt for our campaign, as his Twitter followers number in the thousands.

The highest keyword bidder wins out, and that ad goes out as a tweet from the Twitter user, blending in with their tweet stream. The twitterer decides how frequently ads appear in their tweet stream – 1 ad for every 5 tweets is the default. Payout is based on the number of Twitter followers they have and the “hotness” (a.k.a. popularity) of the topic. Be a MagPie relies on the Twitter users in their network to keep quality control. In other words, don’t over-tweet your followers with ads to get a bigger payout from MagPie. You may lose followers and decrease your worth to advertisers.

MagPie is based in Great Britain, but location of the twitterer and the advertiser is irrelevant. If your currency is not the Euro, PayPal converts it for you.

A few independent services have emerged, like TwittAd and MagPie, but nothing has been officially released or endorsed by Twitter. It will be interesting to see what sticks; Twitter's strategy here may be to let the advertisers figure it all out.

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