Twitter has many adoring fans. Many of them think of the micro-blogging site as the bees knees of the social media world. However, it’s not without its critics. For all its charm and appeal, critics have been at pains to point out that it’s not really either that good or efficient when it comes to making money. They’ve argued all along that it will never be able to make the sort of money through advertising that say Google does, because it doesn’t have the search giant’s kind of pulling power to draw the big brands in. Well, things may be about to change. Twitter’s ‘promoted tweets’ programme is all set to go live. Now we’ll get the chance to see how successful it’s likely to be when it comes to advertising.
Twitter confirmed in their latest blog entry that promoted tweets are going to become more and more prominent on user’s time lines – whether you like it or not. In fairness Twitter has stated that users will be able to remove the advertisements, though it has to be said that they’re not really overly intrusive anyway. Still, there’s a distinct possibility that Twitter may face some sort of backlash over this: nobody likes to have change enforced on them, particularly if the changes are driven solely by the desire to make some extra money.
These promoted updates will start appearing in timelines soon and won’t just be limited to businesses, either. Non-profits seeking donations will also be able to be viewed. Twitter’s blog post stated:
“That’s why starting today, we’re introducing a way to ensure that the most important Tweets from the organizations you follow reach you directly, by placing them at or near the top of your timeline. These Promoted Tweets will scroll through the timeline like any other Tweet, and like regular Tweets, they will appear in your timeline just once. Promoted Tweets can also be easily dismissed from your timeline with a single click.”
The updated service is available only to a select group of Twitter members initially. If it proves to be a success then Twitter’s advertising service will be expanded and opened up to additional members, although, there’s been no deadline set on that particular detail:
“We’ll be rolling out and testing this new offering over the next several weeks with a select group of partners, including Best Western, Dell, Gatorade, Groupon, HBO, JetBlue, LivingSocial, Microsoft Xbox, Red Bull, Sephora, Starbucks, Summit Entertainment’s “50/50”, TNT and Virgin America among others — with more to come soon. During this phase, you may also see Promoted Tweets in your timeline from non-profit organizations you follow, including charity: water, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Room to Read, The American Red Cross and Water.org.”
It’s assumed that these companies would need to have Twitter account that are being followed by you, before the promoted tweets start appearing in your timeline, although, Twitter hasn’t as yet confirmed or denied this point. There is, however, a casual reference about “when you decide to follow your favorite brand,” which would suggest that if you aren’t following the likes of Dell, HBO, Starbucks or Red Bull, et al, the promoted tweets from these companies — and more — won’t be appearing in your timeline.
Will it be successful or popular? Well, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.