Twitter has launched an application programming interface (API) that will allow real estate agents to manage Twitter advertising campaigns from inside marketing platforms offered by five partner companies.

The API will allow agents to use Twitter in much the same way they manage marketing campaigns in Facebook and LinkedIn using customer relationship management (CRM) platforms.

The introduction of the Twitter Ads API marks a seismic event in the social media marketing landscape, some experts say. It seems likely to enhance the utility and value of online marketing platforms, as well as potentially reduce the costs of advertising on Twitter.

"What this means is that as marketers, you’ll soon have the ability to work with our initial set of Ads API partners to manage Twitter Ad campaigns — and integrate them into your existing cross-channel advertising strategies," Twitter said in a statement on its website. "With the Ads API, marketers now have more tools in their arsenal to help them deliver the right message, to the right audience, on the desktop and on mobile devices — all at scale."

Twitter launched its API in partnership with five marketing platforms. The company, which has 200 million active users, said it had been testing the API with those partners since January. The partners are Adobe, HootSuite, Salesforce, SHIFT and TBG Digital.

Social media has quickly become one of the most important marketing channels for real estate companies, brokers and agents.

"We are very interested in the new Twitter API," said Bev Thorne, chief marketing officer for Century 21 Real Estate LLC. "Empowering our network with best-in-class social media marketing solutions is a priority for our brand as evidenced by the fact that we have twice as many followers on Facebook and Twitter than our nearest competitors. While it is premature to go into detail, the adoption of social into our existing CRM platform is very much on our radar and Twitter’s new API will fold nicely into our plans."

Twitter joins Facebook and LinkedIn as the only two other global social media platforms to offer APIs that allow marketers "to create, manage and optimize ads," wrote Michael Lazerow, chief marketing officer of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, in a blog post for Ad Age.

Lazerow hailed the debut of the API as one of the most important social marketing moments in years, comparing it to the launch of Facebook’s application development platform in 2007.

There are currently three advertising products offered by Twitter: Promoted Accounts, Promoted Tweets and Promoted Trends.

If a company pays to promote an account or tweet, the account or tweet appears at the top of results for searches of terms relevant to the advertiser. The advertising options also cause tweets or account handles to appear elsewhere on Twitter. For example, promoted tweets may appear in users’ news feeds, while promoted accounts may surface in users’ "who to follow" widgets. 

Twitter’s new API creates the potential for marketing platforms to enable users to manage campaigns that use either of those two products. Users of Adobe Media Optimizer, Adobe’s marketing platform that has integrated the Twitter Ads API, may perform tasks including setting budgets, schedules and geotargeting preferences, according to a blog post written by Justin Merickel, senior director of new product innovation for Adobe’s Advertising Solutions. 

For now, the third advertising product that Twitter offers, Promoted Trends, will still remain accessible only on Twitter. Promoted Trends enables a company to surface its brand in the form of a hashtag on Twitter users’ trend sidebars.

In addition to allowing users of marketing platforms to streamline Twitter campaigns, the Twitter Ads API could slash the costs of advertising on Twitter.

Merickel wrote in his blog post that, in testing the API over several weeks, Adobe managed to decrease its cost-per-follow rate (the amount an advertiser pays Twitter for every follower acquired in a campaign) by 60 percent. At the same time, he said, API boosted its number of followers by 63 percent.

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