Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Understanding Twitter's Promoted Tweets

Twitter ranks as one of the most popular tools on the Internet.  Over the years, they've resisted introducing a traditional Web advertising model because they wanted to optimize for value before profit.  The resulting open exchange of information created opportunities for individuals, organizations, and businesses alike. Twitter saw value in this exchange and wanted to “amplify it in a meaningful and relevant manner”.

Those altruistic days are apparently over.  Twitter recently unveiled a service called “Promoted Tweets”.  To paraphrase, “the point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Twitter, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA”.   We digress.  So, Twitter finally has an approach to monetization that amplifies existing value, while also generating profit.   

Promoted Tweets
According to Biz Stone, it's “non-traditional, it's easy, and it makes a ton of sense for Twitter”.   So what are Promoted Tweets?  Promoted Tweets are ordinary Tweets those businesses and organizations want to “highlight” to a wider group of users.

What will users see? Much like Google, you will start to see Tweets promoted by partner advertisers called out at the top of Twitter search results pages.   Twitter strongly believes that Promoted Tweets should be useful to you (and promises to measure whether the Tweets resonate with users - and stop showing Promoted Tweets that don't resonate.) 

 Promoted Tweets will also be clearly labeled as “promoted" when an advertiser is paying, but in every other respect it’s intended that they will first exist as regular Tweet and thus will be organically sent to the timelines of those who follow them. Promoted Tweets will also retain all the functionality of a regular Tweet including replying, Retweeting, and ‘favoriting’.  However, only one Promoted Tweet will be displayed on the search results page.

Since all Promoted Tweets are organic Tweets, there is apparently not a single “ad" in Promoted Tweets platform that isn't already an organic part of Twitter. This is distinct from both traditional search advertising and more recent social advertising.  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. Promoted Tweets must meet a higher bar—they must resonate with users. That means if users don't interact with a Promoted Tweet to allow us to know that the Promoted Tweet is resonating with them, such as replying to it, favoriting it, or Retweeting it, the Promoted Tweet will disappear.

One small step for Tweet’s.  One Giant leap for Twitter. ;)