Twitter introduces political ads

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee may be among the first campaigns to sign up for Twitter’s new political advertising.

“Announcing a launch in Politics & we’ve hired @pgreenberger (formerly ran Google’s political sales) in DC!” Adam Bain, president of global revenue, said in a Twitter post Monday morning, announcing the move as well as the hiring of a top Google political advertising executive.

The latest advertising platform comes a year after Twitter started offering ads for private businesses. The company has been cautious with its implementation of ads —  and political ads will not appear in time lines. Instead, political ads will appear as promoted tweets, promoted trends or promoted accounts.

“We’ve had five years to watch and observe how people are using the platform organically and we know politicians are active on the platform, and we know that consumers enjoy the messages from those politicians,” Bain, said in an interview with Politico. “We’re excited about the election cycle, and we think that ads both in the timeline and in search are a huge opportunity.”

Still, some users are  fearful that one of the last spaces where they could get away from loads of political noise is about to be inundated. Bain would not confirm with Politico which candidates have already signed up. But four candidates in addition to Romney are rumored to be ready to purchase Twitter ads, according to Politico.

“More noise?” John Moore wondered in a tweet.

“Got my ‘block and report finger’ ready,” Nathan Wurtzel tweeted in response to the Politico story.

Like Google’s version of political ads, ads on Twitter will be placed based on search terms chosen by the candidate. That feature could be particularly effective for candidates looking to jump onto the day’s political news or connect in real-time with political junkies live-tweeting candidate debates.

“People are literally searching for topics and ideas as much as they are for names of campaigns,” Bain said in an interview.

The move comes after Twitter hired Peter Greenberger away from Google. Greenberger is a former Democratic political staffer who formed Google’s political advertising unit in 2007 and has run it ever since

“Twitter to launch political advertising – and I have joined the flock!!” Greenberger tweeted Wednesday morning.

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Dave Copeland

Dave Copeland

Dave Copeland is a tech reporter whose work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and ReadWrite. He teaches journalism at Bridgewater State University.