A few months ago, Twitter rolled out a new part of their service called Promoted Tweets, which are part of two paid media opportunities being offered in a private beta to select clients. The other paid opportunity offered is called Promoted Trends.
Both of these products are our first glimpses into how Twitter will begin to monetize their service from an advertising perspective and the paid media products also offer up a fundamentally new way for advertisers to connect with consumers.
Some clients that have already participated with Promoted Tweets and Trends are Coca-Cola, Universal, and Disney and the results are showing that Promoted Trends offers great visibility and engagement for brands.
Promoted Tweets work quite differently than usual paid media buys (read: online ads). Online ads generally take the form of a disruption to the content one is looking to consume on a specific site. The ads may be fun and interesting, even delightful, but in most cases they do not add value to the content you want to experience. Promoted Tweets changes this paradigm. As Dick Costolo, Twitter’s COO has stated, Promoted Tweets are not ads and I agree with him. They come from advertisers’ Twitter streams and are not separate ads. To clarify, they are tweets, not ads.
Currently, Promoted Tweets only show up in Twitter searches, but we should expect to see promoted tweets coming into our Twitter feeds soon. When we do, they will allow advertisers to ensure that opted-in followers will have a greater chance of seeing their tweet.
I think Twitter has come up with a super-smart idea on how to monetize their service. With that said, what may seem like a super smart idea at first can be gamed and lessen the value the service offers. When Google’s AdWords program started to gain a lot of traction, it seemed like the perfect advertising medium for direct response advertisers.
Search ads are still highly effective, but doing a few searches today on Google or Bing shows it’s clear that the system can be taken advantage of and not all ads are useful. The industry is always getting better, but we have significant room to improve.
Twitter didn’t rush to launch their paid media offering. They took the time to build a robust advertising medium. The information Twitter aggregates gives them a competitive advantage to take their users’ insights and turn them into effective programs for advertising. If Twitter succeeds at doing this with Promoted Tweets, it could be big win for Twitter, brands, and users as well.