Twitter Launches “Promoted Tweets,” a New Opportunity for Advertisers to Engage Twitter Users

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April 19, 2010

Twitter Launches “Promoted Tweets,” a New Opportunity for Advertisers to Engage Twitter Users


Posted by Megan Halscheid, Product Manager, Social

Background

After months of speculation, Twitter today announced its first step in a plan to monetize the site.  Twitter launched “Promoted Tweets,” which allow its advertising partners—including Best Buy, Bravo, Red Bull, Sony, and Starbucks—to distribute tweets to a wider group of Twitter users than just those who follow the brand.  Promoted Tweets are regular tweets sent to a brand’s followers that will now be displayed on Twitter search pages to people who don’t follow the brand.  Twitter notes that Promoted Tweets are different from paid search ads and Facebook ads because Promoted Tweets are “organic” tweets from the brand that the brand is now amplifying.  Promoted Tweets are clearly labeled “promoted” and have “reply” and “retweet” functionality.  Users will start to see Promoted Tweets on Twitter search results pages.  Twitter will show only one Promoted Tweet per search results page.  It will also track the number of users replying and retweeting the promoted tweet to ensure that the promoted tweets are resonating with users.  In the future, users will see relevant Promoted Tweets in their Twitter timelines.

This announcement comes on the heels of the recently revamped Twitter homepage.  The new homepage prominently features a Twitter search box on the top navigation.  The homepage also offers tips and tricks to Twitter users on how to most effectively use Twitter’s search functionality.  Twitter is likely trying to encourage greater adoption of search to provide more impressions for its Promoted Tweet advertisers.  Promoted Tweet visibility will depend on Twitter Search adoption.  Promoted Tweets will also reach Twitter mobile application users.  Many Twitter users use smartphone (and desktop) applications to tweet without ever going to the Twitter site.  Promoted Tweets will show in Twitter app search results, thus allowing Twitter to also monetize these app searches.

Advertiser Implications

Promoted Tweets give advertisers the ability to reach beyond their group of followers.  In doing this, advertisers can engage non-followers with special offers and promotions, and gain more followers.  As Promoted Tweets evolve, Twitter may offer richer targeting options; for instance, Starbucks may want to target users in a certain locale with a special offer at a certain time.

At Performics, we’ve used our social listening tool to glean insights into what consumers are saying about brands on Twitter.  We use these insights to inform paid search keyword lists, copy strategies, and Content Network strategies.  Twitter is an extremely rich source in gauging sentiment around a brand.  Promoted Tweet advertisers can use social listening insights to inform the copy they use in their Promoted Tweets.  Promoted Tweets may also allow an advertiser to connect with a consumer who has negative sentiment toward the brand, and therefore is not following the brand.

Advertisers also need to look at Promoted Tweets as part of their holistic social marketing strategy.  Multiple groups—including marketing, merchandising, and public relations—may have a stake in a brand’s Promoted Tweets.  These groups need to be organizationally aligned to ensure that Promoted Tweets are managed in a way that satisfies the needs of each stakeholder.

Although this is just the beginning of Twitter's advertising opportunities, some unanswered questions around the new Promoted Tweets include: 

  • Will advertisers be charged the same based on retweets, replies, favorites, or clicking through a link?
  • Will Twitter try to keep this closed to brands rather than opening the door to aggregators and affiliates in the future?

At Performics, we’re excited about today’s announcement and the new opportunity our clients will have to engage Twitter’s massive user base.  We look forward to Promoted Tweets and other upcoming Twitter advertising opportunities.


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