Twitter announces advertising platform

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Twitter logo.

Social networking website Twitter announced an advertising platform to enable paid tweets to be displayed at the top of search results. This new feature is called Promoted Tweets; Best Buy Co., Sony Pictures, Starbucks Corp. and Virgin America are some of the participants in this.

Twitter has not allowed advertising in the past. According to Biz Stone, the co-founder of the site said that such tweets must "resonate with users" and be conversational in nature. Promoted tweets should be "ordinary Tweets that businesses and organizations want to highlight to a wider group of users".

Promoted Tweets would initially appear only in search results in Twitter, according to the company. Only one such Tweet will be allowed in a search results page. This follows Twitter's acquisition of Atebits, the developer of "Tweetie", an iPhone application used to access the site, announced during the weekend by company officials.

Analysts mentioned that there were some risks involved with allowing advertising, saying that Promoted Tweets could become unpopular with users.

Christine Overby of research company Forrester mentions that there is a possibility that users "may get turned off by too much advertising," "But I think this risk is easy to manage - they can look at how Google for example has handled this," she added.

She mentioned that the company's "pay for resonance" model could prove to be risky as advertisers would be paid for how much user attention a tweet receives. "Advertisers are accustomed to 'pay per click' or 'pay per thousand' [advertising units] models," she said. "They may not appreciate this model - there will certainly be a discussion as to what the 'pay for resonance' model actually is."