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Twitter announces new advertising program: Promoted Tweets

Twitter avatar
 A Tweet from Twitter's official account
 promises "more to come" at Twitter's
 April 14-15 Developer Conference.

Yesterday, Twitter introduced Promoted Tweets, a new advertising program that will generate revenue for the company.

In the initial phase of the program, Twitter users will see ads related to keyword search.

Then, in a future phase, relevant posts will be targeted to the user. Initial advertising partners include Best BuyBravoRed BullSony PicturesStarbucks and Virgin America.

Only one promoted Tweet will appear in keyword search results. Promoted Tweets will have the functionality of a regular Tweet including replying, retweeting and favoriting.

In recent months,Twitter founders Evan WilliamsBiz Stone and Jack Dorsey have hinted about a new development and there has been much speculation on how Twitter plans to generate revenue.

At last December's Le Web '09 conference, Dorsey was basically cornered by panelists on a rumor that Google was to acquire Twitter. Though visably uncomfortable, he managed to remain evasive. Interestingly, Twitter's new platform has been hailed as the new Google AdWords.

Twitter Starbucks ad
  A preview of a Promoted Tweet, shown at the Tuesday
  opening of the Ad Age Digital Conference.

As co-founder Stone admitted in this blog post, the decision was a deliberate one and the Twitter team — particularly himself  — took some punches in the past for what appeared to be a lack of business sense:

"Stubborn insistence on a slow and thoughtful approach to monetization—one which puts users first, amplifies existing value, and generates profit has frustrated some Twitter watchers. Believe me, when your name is Biz and you're a co-founder of Twitter, it also means putting yourself at the mercy of folks like Stephen Colbert who hit home runs with lines like, "So, I assume that 'Biz' in 'Biz Stone' does not stand for 'Business Model'."

Resonance score
To address concerns that the new program will turn into a spam machine, Twitter created a "resonance score" metric to track the effectiveness of the promoted tweets. Those that show low or no levels of interest will be removed from the platform.  See reference links below for more details on the revenue model and strategy.

A keynote speaker at Tuesday opening of the Ad Age Digital Conference, Twitter Chief Operating Officer Dick Costolo, said, "We wanted to do something that just enhances the conversation that companies are already having with their customers on Twitter."

Costolo later added, "My hope is that these will enhance the user experience in a significant way."

Twitter promise more to come
A Tweet from Twitter's official account promised "More info to come later this week @chirp. Stay tuned!" The reference is to Twitter's Developer Conference, April 14-15 in San Francisco.

And a check on if Twitter has reserved the username "PromotedTweets" confirms the account is locked, but has one follower: Twitter CEO Even Williams.

Twitter PromotedTweets account screen capture

Twitter recently celebrated its four-year anniversary, having hit a remarkable 50 million Tweets a day milestone in February, with the 10 billionth Tweet sent on March 5.

For more information:
Twitter Unveils Plans to Draw Money From Ads
Twitter bets its ad platform — and reputation — on "resonance"
Twitter Has a Business Model: 'Promoted Tweets'
Twitter considers Aping Google AdWords
Twitter celebrates fourth birthday

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Alison Cummings is a Web Strategy consultant and Social Media blogger based in Montreal. You can find her on Twitter @alisoncummings and Facebook.


  • Caroline Quintanilla - Riverside Social Media Exam 5 years ago

    So far, it seems pretty benign, especially since the promoted tweets happen in searches and not friend feeds.

    We'll find out if the companies that purchase adverts can keep it friendly and interesting....and follow good tweet protocol.

    I can unfollow (and do) people who insist on continually tweeting their real estate properties without being personable. If the promoted tweets are not good content and what searchers are looking for, there will be fall out. We will see!

  • montreal mental health & Montreal health exami 5 years ago

    yeah I heard of that on the news

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