There’s been a bit of controversy around Ad.ly, which aims to link up high-profile advertisers with celebrities on Twitter and then distribute links to marketing campaigns through the user’s tweet stream with full disclosure. Launched this fall, the startup has created an interesting way to use the viral nature of Twitter and celebrity reach to develop an advertising model.
Today, Ad.ly has launched analytics for its platform, letting marketers and Twitterati measure the impact of their advertisements and Tweets. Some of the analytics that Ad.ly can now provide to advertisers include user engagement, male and female segmentation, location, and sentiment analysis. Ad.ly has partnered with PeopleBrowsr, a startup that data mines Twitter, to provide the data to users. Ad.ly’s founder Sean Rad says the reasoning behind the new feature “provide Twitter users the data they need to become more prolific content creators.”
Here’s how Ad.ly works: Ad.ly’s platform is self-serve for both the Twitter users and the advertisers. So for example, an advertiser for Dell could choose which Twitter power-user to pitch their ad too and then submit a bid to a particular user. The celeb (or publisher) then approves or denies the request. Once the publisher approves the Tweet, the message is sent out via their account by Ad.ly. Each campaign requires the celeb to send out four Tweets over the course of a week. It’s important to note that each Tweet identifies Ad.ly and links to an online interactive campaign for a brand. Celebs are paid handsomely and advertisers get their reach.
Many have doubted Ad.ly’s model because advertisements within a stream could distort a celeb’s authority. The idea that celebs (and advertisers) would be monetizing their followers is questionable and has raised some interesting discussions.
Of course, Ad.ly is just one of several ways that Twitter can be used for advertising. Robert Scoble presented us with a compelling model for advertising on Twitter, called a Super Tweet. We know Twitter is going to be incorporating advertising of its own soon, but we don’t know what this will look like yet.