Originally published 2/16/12 by Benny Evangelista, SFGate.com Tech Chronicles blog
Twitter is expanding its self-service advertising platform to include more small businesses in the U.S. through an exclusive deal with American Express.
The new ad program, set to launch at the end of March, will be the latest step by the San Francisco micro-blogging service to broaden its base of advertising revenue.
Twitter has set up this website inviting American Express card holders and merchants register for the program.
Companies that jump on it early could get a bonus. The site invites small businesses “to try our new advertising solution for small businesses. American Express will give $100 in free Twitter advertising to the first 10,000 eligible Cardmembers and merchants that register.”
“This program is open to American Express Cardmembers and merchants who use Twitter to tweet business news and updates to their followers and who actively engage with and respond to other Twitter users through Mentions, Retweets, and Replies,” according to terms posted on the site.
Twitter chief executive officer Dick Costolo told CNBC news that small businesses have been “banging down the door” for access Twitter ads.
Twitter’s ad revenues grew by 213 percent in 2011 to $139 million in 2011, according to online research firm eMarketer Inc.
But Twitter should generate about $259.9 million in ad revenues this year and should reach $540 million by 2014, eMarketer said.
Last November, Twitter began to quietly roll out self-service ads to a handful of businesses.