Posted by Dan Brough, SVP, Director of Search Marketing, Draftfcb New York
After much anticipation, Twitter announced their official entry in advertising with the launch of "Promoted Tweets." This product has many, many similarities to paid search, specifically Google's AdWords program.
First, you may even be wondering if the name sounds familiar. Well it does. Google's YouTube product called "Promoted Videos" is a direct cousin to the uber popular "Sponsored Link," the only difference is video content over text in the ad placement.
Twitter advertisers will buy keywords (just like with paid search) to target users which have typed that keyword or keywords into a tweet stream. The advertiser's ad or "Promoted Tweet" will have top presence (just like with paid search).
Now for the most striking similarity. "Promoted Tweets" will be shown in the stream of twitter posts based on relevancy. Sound familiar? Twitter is calling this "Resonance" which will calculate a number of factors including, percentage of people who saw the ad, forwarded the ad, replied to the ad or clicked on the ad. If the ad does not reach a certain relevance threshold, the ad will be removed. This is almost identical to Google's Quality Score where a number of factors determine a sponsored links cost and rank on the page.
The only difference from the paid search model is the pricing. Twitter will charge advertisers on a cost per thousand (CPM) model initially. (Actually, paid search was on a CPM model back in the day.) It will be only a matter of time before the model shifts to mirror paid search's CPC or possibly even CPA/CPL pricing.
Overall, this product will allow brands into the direct stream of 'real-time' conversation. Just as paid search is used to combat negative results on a search engine results page, major brands will adopt "Promoted Tweets" to get out in front of an issue or simply position their brand at the most relevant time and place.
I feel Twitter is off to a solid start with this product but they will need to be conscious not to oversaturate users tweet steams with irrelevant or obtrusive ads. Just as it took paid search years to evolve and perfect its model, the same will be true for Twitter.
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