For the past few months, as rumors of Twitter’s Ads API program have been swirling around I’ve had dozens of friends at SEMs, PMDs and other enterprise companies asking for advice on how to get accepted into the program. Now that the program officially launched, I thought I would publish my advice here.
To be clear, these are 100% my own views (not those of Twitter) and are based on my experience running and participating in ads API programs at other companies – I worked on the ads API at Yahoo Search Marketing, oversaw the launch of the ads API at Fox Audience Network and ran a PMD on Facebook’s ads API – and conversations with advertisers about their social marketing activities as part of my role as CRO at Polyvore.
With that out of the way, here’s my advice on how to get into the running for Twitter’s Ads API program:
1. Make sure you apply to join the program. Sounds obvious but you’d be surprised how many people don’t do this. If I was running this program at Twitter, I would want to track the hundreds of applications in one place and have a standing meeting to review who gets access.
2. Do your homework on who is currently buying Twitter ads (and who isn’t) and what is holding them back from increasing their spend. My sense from talking to advertisers is that its a mix of:
- Price (CPEs are high vs Facebook, due to fewer ad units on the page and rapid creative fatigue)
- Workload (the ads UI isn’t well suited to creating hundreds of ads – trust me I’ve tried it)
- Attribution (the ads don’t generally drive direct click to conversion ROI but do raise awareness, which can be measured with the right A/B testing).
If your clients are having these types of problems, its a good sign you can add value
3. Think carefully about the tools you would build on top of Twitter’s Ads API to solve these problems. For example, Promoted Tweets don’t fall into the typical Title x Description x Targeting matrix that works on Facebook and Google. There’s also no targeting discovery tool yet on Twitter (which is essential to split testing into more efficient CPEs). Also make an honest assessment of how long it will take you to build these tools.
4. Be prepared to concisely articulate to Twitter the value you bring. E.g.
- “We are a Facebook PMD managing $50M/year on behalf of lifestyle brands against social engagement goals” is better than “We are a Facebook PMD managing $100M/yr on behalf of app developers against ROI goals”.
- “We are a LinkedIn Certified Developer managing $10M/yr spend on behalf of B2B advertisers against lead generation goals” is better than “We are an affiliate network driving leads for B2B lead aggregators”.
- “We are a social analytics company with 50 Fortune 500 brands, many of whom are Twitter advertisers who would like to tie their paid and earned media together in a single dashboard”.
5. Network with the Twitter decision makers. Since April Underwood (PM for Revenue) published the blog post, its safe to assume she is one of the primary decision makers, however the Twitter sales reps for your advertisers are probably going to be a very strong influence too (as they have account goals to hit) and are easy to get connected to via your advertising clients. The more internal advocates you can build within Twitter, the more likely you will get into the program.