Last week Twitter revised its terms of service to allow advertising, but brands are already targeting users on the service. And a new study shows that one in five tweets are already about brands.

According to researchers at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and
Technology (IST), 20% of Twitter updates are either requests for product info, or responses to
these requests.

Twitter spam has long been a problem. And newly approved advertising
on the service is not likely to discourage that trend. But the
interesting finding is that there’s so much positive word of mouth
Twitter. According to PSU associate professor Jim Jansen:

“A lot of the brand comments were positive. There are some
good products out there, or at least products that people are happy

Jansen said micro-blogging could eventually be equal to e-mail “in terms of its communication impact” for advertisers, and for brands that have a dedicated base of followers, it already serves that purpose. 

Since many Twitter users use third party applications to view their tweets, ads on the service could be tricky. And it’s unclear what more the new advertising options will provide to brands.

Twitter’s terms of service now read:

“The services may include advertisements, which may be targeted to
the content or information on the services, queries made through the
services, or other information. The types and extent
of advertising by Twitter on the services are subject to change.”

Plenty of companies are already making money off of Twitter. For the company to start making money from brands, it will have to do some homework to figure out what value add it is bringing to a service where brands have already become fluent.