Initially, the ads will start with search: Advertisers will be able to buy keywords, and when those keywords are searched for, the Promoted Tweet will appear at the top of the search results.
Eventually, Twitter will start piping the ads into the Tweet streams of users that it thinks might be interested in them.
A few quick points:
- This form of advertising will work across all Twitter applications and clients (which makes the recent brouhaha about how Twitter plans to put most of the app makers out of business a bit strange. Perhaps Twitter wants to ensure that the ads won’t be blocked.).
- The implementation won’t be especially annoying, especially the first part. As long as the Promoted Tweet appears at the top of the search stream, people will immediately get used to it.
- This seems like a no-brainer–we’re surprised it took so long. (Not that the company needed the money). The best analogy for these ads is probably radio ads: You’re listening to the chatter of your friends and pundits you follow. Then you get a message from Starbucks. Then more chatter of friends and pundits. The good news for advertisers is that these ads will likely be more effective than radio ads because they’re persistent and contain links.
Will this be a big money-maker? We don’t see why not. There’s not much screen real-estate to play with, so the number of ads will have to be kept at a minimum or your whole Twitter stream will feel like SPAM. The ads will be hard to ignore, however–you’ll end up reading most of them. And because they are scarce, they’ll probably get expensive in a hurry.
And the big difference between this and radio, of course, is that Twitter controls the only channel. So imagine all the world’s radio stations rolled into one company, and you get an idea of Twitter’s catbird seat here.
As a side note, when we woke up this morning, we opened Twitter and found our first direct-to-us SPAM ad (see below–we initially took it to be a Twitter ad). It was directed straight into our “mailbox” with the @hblodget handle. We expect more of these will rapidly clog the service. And one problem for Twitter is that a lot of users will confuse them with Promoted Tweets.
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