Since Twitter's launch in 2007, it has seen huge growth and has become one of the dominant players when it comes to social media. If you're trying to establish an online presence, and have no idea what Twitter is - or aren't using it in some way to promote your brand - you haven't been paying attention. Shame on you.
“Twittering” has become a national phenomenon with its use trailing slightly behind Facebook’s. Recently Twitter shared some interesting statistics at "Chirp", the Twitter developer conference.
- 105,779,710 Registered Users of Twitter
- Approximately 55 million Tweets being sent daily
- 180 Million unique visitors monthly
- Signing up 300,000 new users daily
- Twitter’s search engine getting 600 million searches daily
For more stats, see http://tinyurl.com/2b8749v . Another Report, "Twitter Usage in America: 2010" by Edison Research, who presented three years of tracking date from national telephone surveys, found Twitter's awareness has exploded from 5% of Americans in 2008 to 87% in 2010. Another stat shows that 51% of active Twitter users follow companies, products or brands on social networks. For the complete report see: http://edisonresearch.com/twitter_usage_2010.php
Having said that, the problem all along has been how to take all of this growth and turn Twitter into a service that generates revenue. It has always been free to use, but like any company, Twitter's objective is to make money. Enter "Promoted Tweets", Twitter's new advertising program. It's very similar to Google Adwords. Advertisers bid on keywords and when a search is done on Twitter, triggering one of those keywords, an ad will be shown at the top of the results page - at least in phase one of the rollout. Only one promoted Tweet will be shown on the search results page.
In phase two of the roll out, the plan is to incorporate the ads into users Twitter streams, of course only when they're relevant. Eventually, the ads will be syndicated via third party apps too. This is important considering a huge amount of Twitter users access the service using various types of software.
The ads are clearly marked as such, and at the bottom they say "promoted by advertisers name", as well as being highlighted in yellow.
So what's the plan for pricing? For now, advertisers will bid on keywords based on CPM's (cost per thousand impressions), viewers who will see the ad. Twitter plans on using something called "Resonance Score" to help determine how well the ads are being received by viewers. This score includes factors such as number of clicks the ad receives, how many times it is “retweeted”, number of people who reply to it, and how many people decide to follow you as a result of seeing the ad. A low resonance score will result in the ad being removed.
Twitter's pricing model will eventually use the "Resonance Score" in some way down the road, but they first need to collect the data so they can "better understand the value of promoted Tweets".
Before you get too excited, understand that the initial launch of Promoted Tweets is limited to a handful of customers. The Initial test group includes customers such as: Starbucks, Bravo, Virgin America, Best Buy, Sony Pictures. These are big companies with very deep pockets.
Advertising to Twitter users is not a new concept. There are other third party advertising programs already in place, such as http://www.SponsoredTweets.com and http://paymetweets.com/, among others, who have been selling ads in Twitter streams for a long time. How will Twitter's new ad program affect them? Twitter recently announced they will not allow third parties to inject ads into timelines. A bold move on Twitter's part, and putting them in a good position to be the dominant player when it comes to Twitter ads. For more see: http://tinyurl.com/2b3wpp6
Everyone will be holding their breath to see how Twitter users respond to this new advertising program. Some feel it's an invasion of their privacy, and other loyal users fear Twitter has sold out to "Commercialism". Whatever your feelings, ads are coming to Twitter - and who can fault a company for trying to earn a profit.
Twitter is a valuable tool when it comes to promoting your brand and/or products online. Those who understand that won't mind a few ads, those who don't - well, they can just take their ball and go home <grin>.