Since launching in late 2006
, a social network based on short 140-character updates, has seen incredible growth with more than 22 million users visiting the site every month and millions more using third-party applications to interact with the service. Now
Twitter has announced
details behind its long-anticipated advertising platform. The new ad platform will be called Promoted Tweets, and allow companies to display corporate tweets along side search results in
, similar to the way Google displays ads in search results.
Additionally, though not available at launch, Twitter plans to add sponsored tweets into individual user streams. Twitter says that it is waiting until it can add Promoted Tweets in a way that will benefit its users and simply not be an interruption. Essentially, if you are searching for or following travel-related tweets, then Twitter might show you a sponsored tweet from an airline that is offering special priced fares. Twitter reinforced in its
official blog post
about Promoted Tweets that it wants this new advertising platform to create value for both users and advertisers.
Will 140 Character Ads Work?
Twitter's initial plan is to charge companies for every 1,000 people that see the organization's sponsored tweet. The problem here is that though this is a new advertising platform for
, the model of selling impressions is an old one and one that many business have moved away from. For example, Google charges an advertiser every time their advertisement is clicked instead of merely shown. This pay-per-click advertising model helps increase advertising relevance. Software isn't perfect, but if an ad is displayed in a pay-per-click model to a user who has no interest in it, then it is likely it won't get clicked.
As marketers and business owners are thinking about testing Promoted Tweets, I would caution you to understand that early on, and you are likely to have a less efficient advertising spend. With any platform that is new on the web, it takes time to make adjustments to improve relevance and context. Twitter's new advertising platform will be no different.
Am I suggesting that you don't test this new platform? No. Understand that you are paying by impressions on a system that is still working on determining relevancy.
Three Recommendations For Companies Testing Promoted Tweets
While many blog posts will be written about how to best use Twitter's advertising platform, at its launch let's make a few recommendations that will help the early users of this platform.
Promoted Tweets Shouldn't Be Another Channel
- Because Twitter is putting a lot of focus on its users' experience with Promoted Tweets, advertisers need to do so as well. This ad platform shouldn't be just another channel to promote your latest sale or advertising campaign. When you are paying by impressions instead of clicks, it is important that your offer is compelling in order to generate clicks. Offer special pricing, deals, information, etc. that are only offered through Promoted Tweets. These types of exclusive offers will likely generate more activity in the form of click-throughs and will help improve your brand position with Twitter users.
2. Ads Need to Work for Followers and Non-Followers
- As I understand it, the tweets used in the Promoted Tweets system will come from corporate Twitter accounts. This means that your promoted tweets need to be valuable to the users who follow your Twitter account and to those who will be seeing it as an advertisement. Businesses who don't consider this run the risk of losing followers because they publish too many irrelevant advertising tweets.
3. Make the Most of 140 Characters
- When an ad is a Tweet, that means you have 140 characters to make an impact on a prospect. Work to make sure that the text in your advertising related tweets is compelling and always include a link to a location on your web site that has more in-depth information as well as lead conversion features.
Would You Pay to Opt Out?
Now that Twitter has spilled the beans on Promoted Tweets, it is likely many users and business owners will have questions.
As a user how do you feel about the idea of ads on Twitter? Would you pay Twitter to remove all of the ads from your searches and streams? How much would you pay?