Turning internet popularity into hard profit is the ultimate aim for online start-ups. So it’s not surprising that Twitter has finally come up with a way to monetise its service, currently used for free by businesses as well as individuals around the world.
Twitter is already a staple of social media campaigns, used to promote special offers, discounts and events to a brand or retailer’s followers. Now retailers can consider the benefits of paying to improve their visibility on Twitter through the new Promoted Tweet service, announced today on the Twitter blog by co-founder Biz Stone.
In essence Promoted Tweets are a paid-for service that place a tweet sponsored by the advertiser’s brand at the top of Twitter searches that include a term that the sponsor has paid for. Initially the Promoted Tweet will only come up in response to a search of Twitter, but the service is set to evolve as it’s used in the coming weeks and months.
The official announcement of the service came this morning and the first Promoted Tweets are likely to be seen this afternoon. Retailers including Starbucks and Best Buy are among the first corporate brands to take part.
Twitter’s co-founder Biz Stone says Promoted Tweets will be different from advertising – since all the Promoted Tweets will already be “an organic part of Twitter”, rather than a pure sponsored message.
Stone’s blog continues: “This is distinct from both traditional search advertising and more recent social advertising. Promoted Tweets will also be timely. Like any other Tweet, the connection between you and a Promoted Tweet in real-time provides a powerful means of delivering information relevant to you at the moment.”
Our view: What could a Promoted Tweet mean for my retail business? That’s the question that retailers with a leaning towards social media will be asking. Ultimately it’s something that will only become apparent as we see Promoted Tweets in action – and that’s something said retailers will be watching carefully. It’s likely that smart social media businesses can get the Twitter results they need without paying for it, but it’s also certain this is a development worth considering when the next social media campaign is put together.