Twitter launches a new feature to create a revenue stream for the microblogging site. ‘Promoted tweets‘ will come through your Tweet stream, but instead of moving along that stream along with every other 140-odd character announcement, these will sit at the source of your stream for a while – unless you click through them.
Indeed, Twitter stressed the fact that you can dismiss them with a click without dealing directly with the linked content of the advertisements. Moreover, the initial launch will only push ‘promoted tweets’ of companies you are already following. The point of Twitter, though, is to expand networks of information, so we imagine it won’t take long before we all have a few of them in our streams.
Whether they flow as pollutants or as a fair opportunity to spawn some income for Twitter is already being debated.
To pick out just a few voices of the conversation: Jeff Bertolucci of PCWorld does not find the promotions too problematic at this point, especially if one is following a company anyway. What he fears is that Twitter will soon give advertisers access to all accounts, meaning you could get deals from companies you have no interest in. Rather like TV, I would say.
Sharon Gaudin of ComputerWorld.com sees the latest campaign as one of many launched by Twitter over the last few years to increase revenue for the popular social-media site. Ms Gaudin interviewed a number of business analysts who seemed to agree that Twitter’s team seemed unaware of the need for an income stream for a while, and these analysts are glad to see Twitter make efforts to run as a business.
a likely, but quiet, backlash as people simply ‘Unfollow’ any companies that start clogging up their streams with adverts. He quoted from Adam Bain, Head of Revenue at Twitter, who stressed the ‘user-first’ approach that Twitter maintains, though a long-term business strategy is necessary to keep the service growing. Mr. Bain also stressed the fact that further development in the program is already underway, which might include promotions going to those not following certain companies.Finally, Tim Bradshaw at London’s Financial Times.com notes
Many nonprofits use Twitter to get their word out as well, and there seems to be no dam in Twitter’s policies that would stop nonprofits from buying ‘promoted tweets.’ Will such advertising deter your organization from using Twitter’s services? Do some timely ‘promoted tweets’ seems like a good idea for your charity? For larger charities, TV advertising is a commonly used medium (and expense). So why not for Twitter as well? Or will the service’s move towards an expressly for-profit model be a bit too rapid for nonprofits to take the plunge?