Ronnie05's Blog

Twitter: Monetization at last!

Posted in Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on April 15, 2010

The announcement about Twitter’s “Promoted tweets” took a long time coming, but this was inevitable and in many ways is Twitter’s acid test. Lately there are those naysayers who have been critical of twitter’s ability to convert its legions of followers into real time money making venture.

Twitter is finally embarking on what its executives hope will be a money-generating endeavor. Promoted Tweets will give sponsors’ messages premium placement when users enter a search term. Sponsored messages that don’t garner much user attention, however, won’t last long.

Promoted Tweets, will allow businesses and organisations to highlight their 140-character-or-less messages to a wider group of users. Twitter has Best Buy, Bravo, Red Bull, Sony Pictures, Starbucks, and Virgin America as its ad partners for the promoted tweets. These tweets will be visible on search pages of Twitter and will be consistently monitored by Twitter and Tweets not “resonating” with users will be taken off. Like paid search results on Google , the companies are giving Twitter money to have their promoted tweets associated with keywords and appear at the top of a search results page. For example, a search for “coffee” returns a page that begins with a promoted tweet from Starbucks- one of several companies partnering with Twitter for the launch — that links to a pic of the Seattle company’s coffee-bean tasting room.

Promoted Tweets will be clearly labeled as “promoted” when an advertiser is paying, but in every other respect they will first exist as regular Tweets and will be organically sent to the timelines of those who follow a brand. Promoted Tweets will also retain all the functionality of a regular Tweet including replying, Retweeting, and favoriting. Only one Promoted Tweet will be displayed on the search results page.

Biz Stone also commented that this was the “first phase” of Twitter’s efforts to making revenues. The later phases will depend upon resonance of promoted tweets, user experience and interactivity and the value for the advertiser. In the second phase, Biz Stone plans Promoted Tweets to be shown by Twitter clients and other ecosystem partners and to expand beyond Twitter search, including displaying relevant Promoted Tweets in timelines in a way that is useful to the user.

There are several other aspects of the Promoted Tweets that we are Twitter would be highlighting. Since all Promoted Tweets are organic Tweets, there will not be a single “ad” in our 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. Promoted Tweets will also be timely. Like any other Tweet, the connection between the user and a Promoted Tweet in real-time provides a powerful means of delivering information relevant to the user 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 have to resonate with users. That means if users don’t interact (such as replying to it, favouriting it, or Retweeting it) with a Promoted Tweet, Twitter will know that the Promoted Tweet is not resonating with users, the Promoted Tweet will disappear.

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