Twitter Promoted Tweets – Advertising With or Without Them

    May 7, 2010
    Chris Crum

Twitter has finally unveiled its business model in the form of "Promoted Tweets". The company refers to this as a "non-traditional" and "easy" strategy that "makes a ton of sense for Twitter." Promoted Tweets are described as ordinary tweets that businesses and organizations want to highlight to a  wider group of users.

Would you pay to promote a tweet? Let us know.

Promoted tweets are clearly labeled as "promoted" when they are paid for by advertisers. However, in many cases, they will simply begin as regular tweets that are organically sent to the timelines of those who follow the account. When a tweet is promoted, it will still have the functionality of any other tweet, such as replying, retweeting, etc. This sounds similar to status promotion tests we’ve seen from Facebook.

To start out, Promoted tweets are appearing in Twitter search results. Twitter Co-founder Biz Stone says the company wants to make sure they’re useful to users so they’ll attempt to measure whether they "resonate" with users. Indications of resonation include engagement activities like replying, retweeting, and favoriting. If a promoted tweet doesn’t resonate, they’ll stop showing it.

Stone calls the launch the "first phase" of the Promoted Tweets platform, indicating that there will be improvements made as time goes on (and more partners added). So far, Best Buy, Bravo, Red Bull, Sony Pictures, Starbucks, and Virgin America are using Promoted Tweets.

Starbucks Promoted Tweet (Via AdAge)
Image from AdAge

"Before we roll out more phases, we want to get a better understanding of the resonance of Promoted Tweets, user experience and advertiser value," says Stone. "Once this is done, we plan to allow Promoted Tweets to be shown by Twitter clients and other ecosystem partners and to expand beyond Twitter search, including displaying relevant Promoted Tweets in your timelines in a way that is useful to you."

"Since all Promoted Tweets are organic Tweets, there is not a single "ad" in our Promoted Tweets platform that isn’t already an organic part of Twitter," says Stone. "This is distinct from both traditional search advertising and more recent social advertising. Promoted Tweets will also be timely. Like any other Tweet, the connection between you and a Promoted Tweet in real-time provides a powerful means of delivering information relevant to you at the moment."

"There is one big difference between a Promoted Tweet and a regular Tweet, he adds. "Promoted Tweets must meet a higher bar—they must resonate with users." This sounds kind of like Digg’s ad strategy.

If Twitter’s own promoted tweets don’t strike a chord with you, there are other options for advertising on Twitter. Sponsored tweets, for example, has been around for quite a while. Earlier this week, TweetUp was launched as an AdWords-like concept for Twitter. These are just a couple examples.

Of course Twitter also offers businesses plenty of ways to reach and interact with their audiences just by using Twitter in general. Here are a few tips:

1. Get in front of journalists. More of them are using Twitter and Facebook according to a recent study.

2. Use things like Twitter share buttons on content to promote sharing of content (once it’s been tweeted, it may get retweeted repeatedly).

3. Remember that brands on Facebook and Twitter are favored by consumers.

4. You can learn some things about audience engagement from Justin Bieber. Seriously.

5. Get found in real-time search (here are some tips for that).

More details about Promoted Tweets are expected to be shared by the company this week at an AdAge conference, and at Twitter’s own developer conference, Chirp.

Note: WebProNews reporter Abby Johnson provided some video coverage of today’s Twitter news:

Do you think Promoted Tweets is the right way for Twitter to go with its business model? Share your thoughts.


Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.