Selling Out?: Twitter’s “Promoted Tweets”

When you’re browsing Facebook, searching Google, or even driving down the highway, you’re sure to notice ads targeted at you. For the most part, these are easy to ignore if that’s your objective. But some of them are in your face. Ever gone to a website to be bombarded with five pop-ups about services you have absolutely no interest in? Sure you have. Well look out, Twitter addicts, because your favorite social media platform is about to ramp up its own advertising efforts.

In the world of social media, it is largely understood that in terms of numbers and profitability, Facebook is #1. This year, Twitter is expected to gross $100 million. Compare that to the $3.5 billion of Facebook and you’ve got a bit of a gap to make up. What’s one way to do this? Promoted tweets.

Rumor has it that promoted tweets will show up within the next 8 weeks. What makes a promoted tweet more special than a regular tweet? We’re not sure about the specifics just yet, but according to a recent Mashable post on the subject, these tweets could be “stickied.” The tweets would appear at the very top of your timeline and not just until another tweet is sent out, either. The promoted tweet will stay at the top of your timeline as a reminder to buy and consume.

For businesses, this is a perfect opportunity to advertise. You can guarantee that your audience will see your post every time they look at Twitter. And not just the Twitter website, but apps like TweetDeck and HootSuite could also see integration of promoted tweets.

The real question now is how will Twitter users react? For the most part, it seems to be the trend that nobody enjoys being blatantly advertised to. We all love our Super Bowl commercials, but we don’t want our content to be taken over by the highest bidder. Of course, 140 characters or less can easily be ignored. Will promoted tweets be quickly looked over and ignored, appreciated, or simply be a nuisance?