Twitter soft-launched a new ad model on April 13 which it has named promoted tweets. The basic premise is that advertisers pay for their ads to end up in search results generated by their 45 million-strong user base.
The launch was greeted warmly by the media industry but there are issues for users.
Twitter claims that if the sponsored tweet does not get enough interaction with users then Twitter will remove it from the search listing. The question remains – how many people use Twitter to search for things (especially commercially focussed searches) and how useful would a promoted tweet be to their search?
Google made its name by creating an advertising system that rewards advertisers for creating the most relevant adverts for users on their results pages. Twitter may find this hard to replicate as their search results are usually there to satisfy curiosity rather then navigate a user further through the web.
Twitter also plans to roll out the ads through third party applications on desktops and the like from which it receives the majority of its traffic. This has the possibility of disrupting a user’s timeline even if they aren’t following the brand (something Facebook have always been completely against). If this is the case then users may condemn promoted tweets as spam and their loyalty to the service will be tested.
Understandably with all of the venture capital that has been pumped into the service, investors must be very keen to start seeing some return. Whether promoted tweets are the way or not remains to be seen and a certain degree of creativity from early adopters will be vital to success.