Twitter recently revealed phase 1 of their new business model – Promoted Tweets. According to their blog post, Promoted Tweets are regular tweets which advertisers have paid to appear at the top of certain search results on Twitter (and be designated as promoted tweets). These tweets also go out as they normally would – to the public timeline and to anyone following the profile of the brand. This new ad model raises a lot of questions – how will Promoted Tweets be received by Twitter users and will they be an effective means of advertising?
Promoted Tweets sounds like a cross between search engine ads and the regular promotion brands already do on Twitter. Just as search engine ads appear higher or more often if they work well with the chosen keywords, Promoted Tweets have to “resonate” with Twitter users or they’ll be removed. It’s not exactly clear what resonating is, but it probably has to do with how often that tweet is retweeted, liked, etc.
What’s not clear is how Promoted Tweets will play out in the Twitterverse, which is probably why Twitter is releasing them to a limited group of advertisers. Will these tweets show up in searches done in Twitter clients? Will they be promoted there and how will people know if they are? Much of Twitter’s usage comes from the use of desktop, web and mobile applications (which is why Twitter recently purchased Tweetie). Will Promoted Tweets work with all these different clients in a way that’s meaningful to both users and advertisers?
Other than being paid, Promoted Tweets appear normally in timelines and can be retweeted, etc. It seems like much of the value of Twitter is in these conversations that happen around a tweet. Will Twitter try to influence or advertise during conversations? How would that impact the value of Twitter?
Companies already run promotions on Twitter, just by tweeting them. Will they be willing to pay to show certain tweets in search results?
How is Twitter search being used that makes sense in terms of advertising? On Google, users are putting in keywords because they’re searching for specific information. Searching on Twitter seems to be related to either specific events or more broad topics or conversations. Searches on Google are probably further down the purchase funnel, whereas Twitter searches may be more broad (possibly without any purchase intent).
Twitter has been slow and deliberate in their march towards a business model. The release of Promoted Tweets is no exception. They’ll be carefully monitoring what’s being said about them and how they interact with the community. My guess is that this will be an ongoing experiment to find what works best for both the community and for advertisers.
What do you think of Twitter’s new Promoted Tweets?