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Twitter will today officially announce the launch of a business model. After years of speculation, and skepticism, Twitter has decided to try its hand at the keyword-based advertising business model that built Google into a billion-dollar powerhouse.

According to the New York Times, Twitter's new ad offering, dubbed Promoted Tweets, will display ads that "show up when Twitter users search for keywords that the advertisers have bought to link to their ads".

Here's how it works:

When a Twitter user searches for a word an advertiser bought, the promoted message will show up at the top of the results, even if it was written much earlier. The posts say they are promoted by the company in small type, and when someone rolls over a promoted post with a cursor, it turns yellow.

Major brands reportedly participating in the launch include Best Buy, Virgin America, Starbucks and Bravo -- all companies that are already active participants on Twitter. That's not surprising given that Twitter's CFO, Dick Costolo, told the Times:

The idea behind Promoted Tweets is that we want to enhance the communications that companies are already having with customers on Twitter.

This is an important point, because searches on Twitter are far more likely to lack the not-so-secret sauce that has powered Google's empire: intent. Without a large volume of intent-driven searches in lucrative markets, Promoted Tweets are unlikely to bring Twitter Google-like success.

But that doesn't mean that Twitter can't find a niche for its shiny new ad product. One of the more intriguing opportunities Promoted Tweets offer advertisers: the ability to use Promoted Tweets during a Twitter crisis. As Anamitra Banerji, a Twitter employee, puts it, advertisers will now "be able to increase awareness in that instance when the iron is most malleable".

Additionally, Twitter plans to extend Promoted Tweets into the stream, meaning Twitter's users will get their first taste of forced ad viewing. The reaction should be interesting to follow.

The big question, of course, is how far the Promoted Tweets value propositions can take Twitter as a business. A big challenge for Twitter: keeping ad quality and relevance high while still making money. It's an issue that other social startups (namely Facebook) have been forced to grapple with and you can be sure that savvy spammers and arbitrageurs will be taking a close look at Promoted Tweets.

The good news is that Twitter is finally moving to monetize one of the internet's hottest properties. At the very least, within six months it should be possible to go from talking about Twitter's potential to talking about Twitter's profit (or lackthereof).

Photo credit: carrotcreative via Flickr.

Patricio Robles

Published 13 April, 2010 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Michael

Can't really understand why anyone, who actually used twitter, would think that it's a good idea to monetise it, unless they own shares in Twitter.

over 6 years ago

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Loewenherz

Nice idea. But only "when Twitter users search for keywords"? This can only be the begin, not the really money machine...

over 6 years ago

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Xavier Izaguirre

Am I the only one who is happy (sort of) with Twitter Ads?

Am I candid to think that income will improve Twitter flexibility and power to do new things and go further? And that a paid for version of tweeting will help marketers use Twitter towards business objectives? Don't SEO and PPC coexist peacefully in our marketing tool set?

I am indeed looking forward to see how Starbucks and other guys use, peruse and misuse the platform.

over 6 years ago

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xavier Izaguirre

Odd

Loe comment wasn't there when I posted....I also think is a good idea

over 6 years ago

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Nina Greaves

I wonder how effective this will be? Recently spent 2 days @ £150 day on Facebook to get one sale. Twitter has been viewed as too much of a marketing platform unless you are a celebrity .. it will be interesting to see how this pans out for businesses advertising when they are not household names..

over 6 years ago

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Zack

I think it's finally time that Twitter grew up and made some changes to adapt to their huge growth. It seems that for much of their life, Twitter has been playing catch-up, trying to keep their heads above water as the site grew in leaps and bounds. During this time they made very few actual enhancements, beyond stability, and left the features and business aspect up to the 3rd party developers. Now that they are acquiring strategic companies, rolling out their ad platform, and potentially changing their feed timeline it feels they are being more proactive about their future growth. 

But clearly the biggest news here is their advertising scheme. They really need it to work in order to justify their outrageous valuations. I've put together a rundown of the ad program and whether the experts think it will work:

http://thebusride.com/ride/twitter-ad-scheme-will-it-work-

over 6 years ago

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Maxiosearch

Interesting, I will digg more on that hopefully trying to find the best way to start with it for the benefit of my business.

Lately today, I was reading an article at Inc mag about the creation of TweetUp. It´s a new startup that plans to be a kind of Google AdSense for Twitter. I thought is would be valuable for the people here to know that as well.

Anyways, I invite you all to join business conversations at http://startups.com

over 6 years ago

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Andy

I personally think this will tank but we will have to wait and see. From a brand reputation standpoint, this could be a huge opportunity; however when it comes to ecommerce, conversions, etc I just don't see the benefits. Compared to Facebook, where you can reach your specific target demographics, you are bidding on keywords that may not necessarily reflect your target market on Twitter. Also, I just did some searching around to see if I could find some sample ads and it was fairly difficult. This wasn't necessarily due to low advertiser volume, but mainly due to the ads being so hard to recognize (this is a benefit to some degree because it does not interfere with the Twitter experience). In doing this search, I came across a Starbucks ad that was a Promoted Tweet containing a URL for a TwitPic. Again from a brand reputation mgmt point of view this is useful, but what about measurement? The link was not tagged from what I could tell and there was no direct link from the TwitPic page to the Starbucks website. So in my own personal opinion, Promoted Tweets could be huge for branding and reputation management but from a pure conversion/ecommerce standpoint I wouldn't recommend it at this point in time. Of course that could all change in the near future.

over 6 years ago

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CHAT

Am I candid to think that income will improve Twitter flexibility and power to do new things and go further? And that a paid for version of tweeting will help marketers use Twitter towards business objectives? Don't SEO and PPC coexist peacefully in our marketing tool set?

over 6 years ago

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Geoff Jackson

It's hardly their "own version of Adwords", it's a PPC platform for their own network and there are loads of various paid search platforms out there, each with their own objectives not in direct competition with Google's Adwords.

My take on Twitter's Promoted Tweets

I'm looking forward to the new advertising model from Twitter, there opportunities for local business advertising could potentially be overwhelming so keen to see the effectiveness.

over 6 years ago

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العاب فلاش 2013

Hi, Can I Find out detailed information about the topic.I could not understand. ?

over 3 years ago

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