In April, Twitter announced Promoted Tweets – a way to show ads that relate to specific searches people do on Twitter. They’ve started with a few large companies to test the program – one of those is Starbucks. If you searched Twitter for “coffee” you might see the ad, which looks like any other tweet except it’s labeled. It says, “Promoted by” but it works differently than a regular tweet. The more people retweet, favorite, and click the ad, the more it’s promoted. The opposite is also true.
Twitter is said to have over 100 million users. Other models have you pay someone to tweet something for you. So you could pay someone like Ashton Kucher to send a tweet about your new video to his followers (he and wife Demi Moore have almost 8 million followers between them). With promoted tweets, the tweet comes directly from the company.
Here’s how it works – advertisers pay for keywords so when those words are searched, the person sees their ad. So for example, let’s say DISH Network signed up. Then when someone searches on the name of a show a tweet the company creates about the show could show up. For example: someone searches “food network” and a tweet from DISH Network asks your opinion about the most recent episode.
Of course, if no one searches on the terms, no one will see the ads. That’s the problem I have with it from an advertisers point of view. Unless people retweet it the only exposure you’ll get is for the small percentage of people who use Twitter search and happen to type in one of the terms you’re bidding on).
One of the first companies to say they were successful with Promoted Tweets is Virgin Airlines. They announced a new flight to Toronto directly from Twitter. They also ran a 50% off deal for the first 500 travelers to book a flight from LAX or SFO to Toronto. It looks like it was successful because the day Promoted Tweets went live, Virgin had the fifth highest sales day in its history.
The nice part is that the ads are pretty low key and hopefully advertisers will make the ads more conversation starters or sharing information than pitches to buy something. I wonder if the ads will go through an approval process.
People on Twitter haven’t been very enthusiastic as you can imagine. Twitter doesn’t really make money but they expect hundreds of advertisers – which could bring in a lot of cash.
What do you think – do you like the idea of Promoted Tweets?