Promoted Tweets | What Twitter advertising means to you

A blue-frosted cookie in the shape of Twitter's Fail Whale.

Promoted Tweets is Twitter's first venture into advertising. It is the hope of the company that Promoted Tweets won't be a giant Fail Whale. Image from Flickr.

Quick, in 140 characters or less, what do promoted tweets mean for most Twitter users? Promoted tweets are the first of a planned group of Twitter advertisements that will appear as highlighted search results. The overwhelming Twitter chatter seems to be against the Promoted Tweets program, but Twitter cannot run forever on small cash loans from venture capitalists.

How Promoted Tweets will work

The Promoted Tweets advertising system is built to appear much like Google advertisements, only more “organic.” When someone uses, contextually relevant results will appear at the top of the search results. For example, if you search Twitter for “mocha,” a “promoted tweet” by Starbucks that mentions a mocha will appear above the current Twitter chatter. Companies that have already signed onto Promoted Tweets include Best Buy, Bravo, Red Bull, Sony, Starbucks and Virgin America.

Promoted Tweets will rely on Twitter Users

The basis of Promoted Tweets is that the advertising will rely on tweets that would be posted by the companies anyway. The hope is that Twitter users will retweet, reply or bookmark the promoted Tweets. Twitter promises that any results that users don’t interact with will be removed from search results. The exact price of Promoted Tweets has not been revealed, but if the program is successful Twitter is sure to be able to begin debt settlement relief with its investors.

Plans for the growth of Promoted Tweets

The Promoted Tweets program does not stop just with the display of search results. Instead, Twitter has outlined that, if Promoted Tweets is successful, they will expand the program. First, the Promoted Tweets will be “injected” into the timelines of anybody who already follows the company. Second, these Promoted Tweets will also be displayed by Twitter clients such as Tweetie and Seesmic, as well as clients being developed by companies that have chosen to hire a dedicated programmer to create iPhone and Android apps.

The reality of Promoted Tweets

The Twitter microblogging site is using Promoted Tweets as the first step into “monetizing” the immensely popular site. Created in 2006, the site has stubbornly refused to create revenue in any major way until now. Biz Stone, the head of Twitter, says the company wanted to create value first and money second. By announcing Promoted Tweets, it appears Twitter will be looking for a way to give investors a return on their $57 million investment. Some users may leave the microblogging site, but if the reactions of users to other social networking launching advertising are any indication, most users are willing to put up with advertising to support their favorite web applications.


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