Twitter rolls out ‘Promoted Tweets’. Will they be relevant?Posted: April 13, 2010
Have you heard the news? Twitter, which is supremely popular, but has since failed to make any real money for its owners, will start rolling out ads from tomorrow, which they’re calling ‘Promoted Tweets’.
Good thing? Bad thing? Generally, when people are faced with the prospect of any kind of advertising, they’re more often than not against it, which is fine. That’s just the way we’ve all been brought up. It’s also true that the sheer popularity of Twitter would probably make the majority of users abide by the propagation of any type of ad, but I’m pleased, and not necessarily surprised to see that Twitter ads will take heed of Digg’s example, with regards to their advertising strategy. If you’re unfamiliar with Digg, and its ads, it essentially presents you with a single ad, almost completely hidden as an ‘ordinary’ entry within a page of content. In the same way, Twitter’s ads will appear amongst ordinary tweets in your Twitter feed, and will for the most part resemble an ordinary tweet, with the exception of a “promoted by X” tag at the bottom of it, as such:
As long these ads aren’t annoying, and don’t dominate the way we experience Twitter (Twitter have promised one ad per page), I think they could do quite well, which is good news for Twitter. Twitter have also stressed the need to make these ads as relevant as possible, through a ‘resonance metric’ it’ll apply to every Promoted Tweet, rewarding ads that are popular, well-viewed, and generally re-tweeted, with lower ad fees. While I feel that expecting people to retweet ads is going a bit far, I think that a system of encouraging helpful, useful ads, is definitely the way to go. It gives considerably more power to us users, and should mean that we get some hyper-relevant ads if Twitter’s system of resonance scoring works.
It’s going to be odd adapting to the change, but I’m quite excited. I’m a fan of Digg’s ads, and must admit to actually having clicked on a couple. What I like most about them is that the content is generally related to whichever feed you’re browsing on Digg’s website, whether it be gaming, science, or sports. Go ahead and try it out. I think that Twitter needs to take its advertising strategy one step further, in a similar way, and provide its users with ad content that’s absolutely relevant to their interests. From looking at any regular Twitter user’s list of whom they’re following, you can tell an awful lot about their interests. Instead of relying solely on what’s popular, I think Twitter need to use this mine of information as a way of providing content that’s relevant, above all else. Follow a lot of game devs, and computer games companies, like me? Send some game-related ads our way. Crazy for coffee shops? Send us some Starbucks vouchers. Engaged in the UK elections, and following all the major players? Send us their party political broadcasts, so we can promote/laugh at them (probably laugh). That, for me, would be epic.
It seems inevitable that Twitter would adopt ads, somewhere along the way. Until now, it’s been a great, ad-free ride, but I guess that they’ve got to find some way to finance their recent activities, such as buying Atebits, makers of Tweetie, meaning free Tweetie 2 for all of us iTouch users. Will it be worth it? Only time will tell, but as long as Twitter keep their tweeters at the heart of what they do, they can’t go wrong.