Twitter is addressing the concern over its long-term viability as a revenue-generating business with the launch of its new ad platform called “Promoted Tweets” this week. Promoted tweets will essentially be tweets in the form of paid advertisements that will be placed at the top of the Twitter search results.
The current version of Twitter search is structured in a purely reverse-chronological order, with the newest tweets appearing at the top of the search results. Tweets by companies, therefore, can quickly be pushed further and further down the search results as time passes. Promoted Tweets will ensure that advertisers looking to get their brand message in front of a target audience won’t get buried in the stream of real-time posts. When a user searches for a keyword an advertiser purchased, a single Promoted Tweet will appear at the top of the search results, followed by organic results. Here is an example from Twitter’s official blog :
- Like any other tweets, users will be able to retweet or reply to it, passing along the noteworthy information around the twitter world.
- Advertisers will be bidding on keywords on a CPM basis for now, but Twitter will be introducing other bidding options in the future.
- Promoted Tweets will be clearly labeled as “promoted” and will be highlighted yellow when rolled over with a cursor to distinguish them from regular tweets.
- Only one Promoted Tweet will be displayed on the search results page.
- Twitter will also place Promoted Tweets within the search results of third-party clients such as Twitterberry and Tweetie.
- Eventually, Twitter plans to develop and measure what it calls “resonance”, a performance model similar to Google’s Quality Score that will be based on how much a tweet is retweeted, favorited, and replied to, or how often a user clicks through to a posted link.
According to market research firm ComScore, Twitter attracted  73.5 million unique individuals in January 2010, with an annual growth rate of 1,105%, making it a potentially attractive new advertising channel for a wide range of brands and individuals. Best Buy, Virgin America, Starbucks and Bravo, all of which have active Twitter profiles, will be some of the first advertisers to test out this new platform.