What are Promoted Tweets and Why Does it Matter

Kyle Reed // @kylereed

Twitter has launched a new service called promoted tweets. It is a new service that provides companies the opportunity to pay for ad space in a twitter users stream. It look something like this:

Have you gotten one of these yet?

This service is a new feature that seems to be in experiment mode as you read this. Initially, twitter announced in April that features like search.twitter.com and twitter.com would be the only places to feature promoted tweets. But recently they have announced that they are now experimenting with third party apps such as tweetdeck and hootsuite to deliver them directly to your stream. Even though this is in experiment mode, this could very well be something that turns twitter into an ad space rather then a conversational space.

As I tried to figure out how HBO got into my stream and what the heck Harrow, the newest edition to BoardwalkEmpire is all about I started to wonder what some possibilities of this promoted tweets could be?

Here are some thoughts

1. The New Twitter Porn

It was not uncommon a year or two ago to have more followers that were advertising pornography then real life conversations in your follower section on twitter. It was the nature of the beast really. Twitter was a new way for “porn advertising” to spread their links and pictures. Over time twitter started to beef up their spam filters and took care of this issue. What could be a very real possibility from this new service of promoted tweets going directly into your twitter stream is the chance to “dirty” up your feed.

Twitter has done a great job of providing users the chance to customize the way they receive their information from the people they follow. Tools such as list and searches allow users to select what information they want to see.  But what could very well take away from that customization is a tweet that you have no choice but to read.

Choosing people to follow is a very specific process. You want your stream to deliver information that you are looking for, not an advertisement from HBO or Budweiser telling you about their latest show or product. Promotional tweets could very well be the new porn spam of twitter.

2. Direct Advertising

One of my favorite things to do on the internet is to use the service stumbleupon.com (make sure to click the link and see some great resources I have found). StumbleUpon allows you to search the web for specified content by simply hitting a button and playing the internet slot machines. I love this site because I tailor it to exactly what I am looking for and find some amazing resources.

Imagine if twitter and promotional tweets got very specific in the way they advertised products and promotional tweets. Instead of advertising to me with shows on HBO about vampires that I will never watch they could send me promotional links to concert tickets for Mumford and Sons or coupons to Starbucks. This could very well change the advertising game. Imagine if companies started to listen to what you were interested in and talking about and start to bid for your eyes by giving you discounts because you talk about their brand. This could very well be the new way of advertising.

3. Affiliate Tweeting

A lot of people use their twitter account to share blog post, resources, pictures, and music they want their followers to check out. Getting into the model that google has set up with adword advertisement, promotional tweets could offer specials to tweeters in exchange for a RT or a direct link. Imagine if BlockBuster, who is about to go bankrupt and shut down their business, approached a twitter user through a DM and offered them a free rental of their choice in exchange for a tweet about their new online service. They might be giving away thousands of free movies but in return they will create impressions with thousands if not millions of users who they would otherwise not be in front of. Instead of paying tons of money to put a cheesy ad at the top of a website or even in a users stream they could allow users to generate the content and link back to their site all in exchange for a 2 hour movie.

Adword or Affiliate tweeting could provide an exchange of goods between product and user that would be a positive experience for both.

These are just a couple of ideas that come to mind after seeing my first promoted tweet in my twitter stream.

Do you see any potential for promoted tweets?


To read more information on promoted tweets check out what twitter had to say about the service here

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Kyle Reed

Posts Twitter

I create websites, conversations, and ideas. Advocate for the 20 somethings. Looking to connect everyone to a mentor. Married to my best friend, Ginny. I like my coffee black and my dog Jack. I currently live in Nashville and work at Sony Music/Provident in Nashville
  • http://www.mohan37.com mo

    I’ve actually see affiliate tweeting. Random tweets showing up in big name feeds. It looks awkward, like bad product placement. Not sure I’d ever do it. Although its not like companies are busting down my door for affiliation opportunities anyway, so what do I know? :)

  • http://shelbyisrad.wordpress.com Shelby

    I have yet to see them but thats probably because i use tweetie, i rarely actually get on twitter.com

  • http://godlysheep.com Brett Barner

    I haven’t seen any promoted tweets yet. I’m trying to decide if I’d rather have promoted tweets, or on the side advertising…

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      ha, on the side for sure