Sponsored Tweets: Cooler Than You May Think

Posted on April 14th 2010

The word on the street is that Twitter has finally developed a business model. How do they plan to make money in less than 140 characters?
Sponsored Tweets. 
According to several sources including Mashable, AdAge and the New York Times, corporations will have the option to sponsor a Tweet in searches. Unlike a normal keyword-based Google Ad, these Sponsored Tweets will still fit the same 140 character format as any other tweet. 
What's so cool about this? All free things eventually come to an end and Twitter's indulgence in ad revenue was as inevitable as Steve Jobs selling a lot of iPads. We knew the ads would come in some form or another. What makes these a different opportunity than other online ads?
Twitter ads and your typical online ad (say a Google ad) will both have some brief text and most likely a link to some home website. However, unlike a Google AdWord ad, Twitter sponsored tweets give Twitter users the ability to reply to the ads like any other tweet.
Think about it: consumers will be able to have two-way communication with paid advertising. Imagine hearing a TV or radio advertisement and being able to give direct immediate feedback directly to that advertiser. To me, this will open up a whole new style of marketing communication. Social media introduced us to the idea of brand transparency the last couple of years. Now with Twitter's new advertising platform, this takes paid two-way communication up another notch.
How do you all see this influencing the future of mass media and relationship marketing?

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Drew Hawkins

Aside from being on the cover of a running book and an issue of TIME magazine (sort of), I am a constant student of marketing. A lot of my spare time is spent learning what things are coming next in the industry. More importantly, I try and figure out ways to apply those new tools in practical ways.
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Posted on April 15th 2010 at 6:03AM
It will be interesting to see how much more value Twitter's advertising service would bring for brands and businesses.



Posted on April 15th 2010 at 9:22AM

I think this two-way communication through advertising is a very interesting concept. It is probably the most interesting way Twitter could have incorporated ads and revenue. It remains to be seen how successful this will be from a Twitter user point of view but I think once the initial flaws are worked out, it will prove to be very interesting.

Makes you wonder what's next.

Posted on April 15th 2010 at 9:50AM

Absolutely Joe. Twitter could have done a lot of different things with their ad revenue but I think this way will definitely be the most interesting

Posted on April 16th 2010 at 1:46PM

Drew, just for clarification, I believe you mean that Twitter has announced "Promoted Tweets", not "Sponsored Tweets."

Sponsored Tweets have been around for awhile. There are many online services that will pay Twitter users a small percentage of advertiser revenue if you let that online service send sponsored tweets to your Twitter account. You basically rent out the eyeballs of your followers to get a few pennies from these sponsored tweets. The term "sponsored tweets" has been used for awhile to refer to this questionable practice of having a service push advertising to the followers of your Twitter account.

Twitter announced "Promoted Tweets." Each of the three articles you refered to at the begining of your post all call it Promoted Tweets, as does Twitter themselves.... probably to differientiate themselves from the existing practice of renting our your Twitter account to receive sponsored tweets from advertisers. The term Promoted Tweets is probably more accurate as well, since there will be an aspect of promoting a given tweet up or down based upon how much users interact with it (e.g. retweet it, reply to it, etc.).

I know it's just terminology.....

Posted on April 16th 2010 at 2:10PM

To Ralph's point, I think this has the potential to make some interesting waves in how brands market themselves.The days of brands simply talking at you and delivering the message they want you to hear are gone. And this “Promoted Tweets” announcement from Twitter may signal a further evolution of that. In the Twitterverse, if your brand doesn’t resonate with customers, it simply won’t exist.