Following in the footsteps of Google and Facebook, Twitter has launched an advertising service that will let top brands such as Starbucks and Sony have their Tweets show up in the top of search results. This marks a first attempt by the service to monetise its user base.
Introducing advertising to a commercial free community is always a risky business. Realising this fact Twitter has been very cautious in their approach. As things stand only one sponsored tweet is displayed alongside search results and the ad has to be based on something that the advertiser has already tweeted about in their regular Twitter stream.
Quashing fears that the micro-blogging service will soon be riddled with ads, Twitter has given assurances that ads will ‘resonate’ with users and be part of conversions. Twitter’s aim is for ads to be completely ‘organic’.
Despite only launching 3 weeks ago, Twitter’s advertising service has been greeted with scepticism by some analysts. Some feel there is a risk users will be turned off by the ads even if they are ‘disguised’ as tweets, others feel that advertisers who are used to a pay-per-click or pay-per-thousand ad models may be put off by the pay for resonance ad model that will initially see advertisers pay for the number of people who see their ads but will eventually charge according to how much users like ads, based on how often they reply, retweet and click the advertisers profile picture.
Advertisers have a real challenge on their hands making sure ads reach the right audience since many Twitter users search to follow conversations, not because they want to research/purchase goods or services.
Giving advertisers a platform to inform Twitter users of the latest deals and offers in a real-time manner has enormous potential; however we all know that you can’t buy groceries with potential. Only time will tell whether Twitter’s foray into the world of advertising has been a true success.