In April 2010, Twitter announced its intentions to implement a self-serve ad program that would allow "anyone with a credit card" to take advantage of Promoted Tweets to build traffic, Mashable reports.
The service was introduced last November to a "handful" of advertisers, and Twitter representative Matt Graves tells the news source that the company expects to roll out the capability to more advertisers in the coming months.
In an effort secure its advertising platform's security, Mashable notes in a separate article that Twitter recently acquired California-based spam and malware protection service Dasient.
According to an email sent to reporters by Twitter spokesperson Rachael Horwitz, Dasient has an "excellent understanding of advertising platform-related security issues." She added "(Dasient's founders) created technology that provides network security and malware prevention service for some of the largest ad networks in the world … and will be a valuable addition to the revenue engineering team."
Google and Facebook already utilize self-serve ads, and the revenue gained from such ventures has "rocketed both companies' profits into the stratosphere," the media outlet notes.
According to eMarketer, Twitter's global ad revenue grew more than 200 percent in 2011 to around $140 million - up from just $45 million in 2010. With the addition of self-serve ads, eMarketer estimates Twitter will earn nearly $400 million annually by 2013.
"Since their debut in April 2010, Twitter's Promoted Products have proven successful in the U.S.," said eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson. "Marketers have seen solid engagement rates with Twitter advertising - in some cases better than those on Facebook - despite Twitter’s relatively smaller audience."
Twitter devised its Promoted Products ideally to help out small and medium-sized businesses that want to build their audiences and better engage with the people they want to reach, Mashable reports. The average engagement rate for Promoted Tweets is currently between 3 percent and 5 percent.
It's predicted by The Wall Street Journal that Twitter sells its Promoted Tweets for around $100,000 - a small price to pay for some companies to be listed as the first result when a user conducts a search - especially given the growing social network's current 175 million-strong user base.
Mashable notes in another article that given Twitter's rapid ascension, an IPO may be in its future - similar to Facebook's announcement that it will go public in May. However, CEO Dick Costello dismissed such predictions.