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Intuit Is First Marketer to Have Its Tweets Streamed Across AdSense Network (by Abbey Klaassen)
Twitter may still be tweaking its own business model, but Google has found a way to use the popular microblogging service to sell ads.
The search giant has started offering marketers ad units that stream their five most recent "tweets" across the Google AdSense network. The first marketer to use the ad units is Intuit, whose TurboTax brand is trying to boost its Twitter followers. Intuit used several of the measures available for any AdSense campaign to target the ads, which are running on sites such as Bebo, Facebook, Hi5, MySpace and Alltop.
"It's syndicating whatever the team that works on the TurboTax Twitter account [@turbotax] posts," said Seth Greenberg, director of marketing at Intuit. When a user clicks on an ad it takes them not to TurboTax.com but to twitter.com/turbotax.
The deal with Google also expands the audience for TurboTax's Twitter presence as the ads are syndicated it across the web. After all, while Twitter is growing and had about 7 million unique visitors in February, Nielsen NetView pegs the active digital media universe as 167 million people.
"We could have used this as an acquisition vehicle, but we're looking at it more like a conversational vehicle," Mr. Greenberg said. We're measuring this [in part by] how many followers can we get. Can we get to 100,000 by allowing people to know we're a resource? We're not going to hard sell you on the product, but we want people to know there are lots of people here who can help answer your questions."
The ability to put real-time feeds and data into ad units has existed for years, but one of the technological limitations of this particular execution was that users can't actually click on links that are included in the "tweets," or posts by users. Right now, the feed only pulls from TurboTax's Twitter account, rather than pulling a stream of tweets that mention the brand or tax-related issues. A Google spokesman said it is doing "limited" tests with a "small number of advertisers and publishers."
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