Amadeus Consulting’s This Week in Technology ? May 3rd, 2010: Twitter Revolution

Twitter™ is changing.  Here is what is happening and what it means for Internet marketing and search visibility.

Twitter launched in 2006 much to the speculation of many onlookers who doubted its usefulness and future success. However the 140-character message site has had tremendous success, both in terms of users (it is currently adding 300,000 per day and has over 100 million registered users) and in terms of usefulness as over 50 million tweets are sent each day.

Even so, as Twitter’s creator Evan Williams says, Twitter still struggles with relevance. Many people just do not “get” Twitter, and the micro-blogging site has a lot of room for improvement for growth as a development platform.

This week at Chirp, Twitter’s developer conference, Twitter announced many new additions and upcoming changes to the service. This includes a new advertising platform as well as Twitter’s own versions of extensions and add-ons, such as BlackBerry® and Android™ phone applications.

This has interesting and exciting potentials for marketers and business people, as well as some unfortunate side effects for some businesses.

Twitter Promoted Tweets

Twitter’s advertising will not be a traditional advertising platform, and will not run traditional Internet ads such as banner ads or other visual advertisements. Instead, Twitter’s Promoted Tweets platform will insert “promoted” tweets into a user’s feed.

These Promoted Tweets are ads, but they have the general look and appearance of other tweets, except that they are designated as “promoted by…” Twitter also measures the resonance of these ads and can stop showing ads to users that are not interested in the product or the ad.

These ads will be sent to the followers of the brand, and will appear with their timeline. Also slightly similar to Google’s sponsored links, these ads will also appear during searches and can be integrated into trending topics by placing hashtags or keywords into the ad. For example, Apple® could run a promoted tweet using “iPad™,” or “#iPad” or something totally irrelevant to the product such as “#ladygaga.”

For advertisers, this can be a great way to connect to users and create brand recognition and relevance, which eventually works through the process to become sales and revenue. Although Twitter will, and should, limit the persistence of these ads so as to not let them become spammy, or overtake the service, it still provides an excellent channel for better engaging the Twitter community.

It also lets advertisers send out ads in real-time, and lets users spread the ad by re-tweeting it to their followers. This can be an excellent tool for building limited-time promotions or deals.

Also, as Twitter suggests, these ads will have to be a part of the conversation or community in order to be effective. Simply sending out calls to action will not be an effective method for advertising, but sending out incentives or invitations to be involved will be much more effective.

Initially advertisers will bid on keywords on a cost-per-thousand basis, however the pricing model may change as the performance metric of resonance is taken into account. Although it is not clear how exactly this would be implemented, it likely would involve some sort of pay-per-link-click and per-re-tweet.

Since Twitter is only allowing one sponsored tweet per results page, this could mean steep bidding wars among competitive markets and keywords.

This is just the first phase of the Promoted Tweets platforms and it will be slowly rolled out over the next year and will eventually include twitter clients, and possibly syndicating promoted tweets to appear on other search engines, such as Google or Bing.

Twitter Extensions

Twitter also announced this week that they are releasing their own official BlackBerry app, as well as an upcoming Android app. No official word on an iPhone™ app, but it is likely that we’ll see one of those soon since they just bought Tweetie, a popular paid Twitter app on the iPhone. Twitter is also coming out with better options for desktop users as well.

Twitter is also allegedly looking at its own URL shortener and some other small additions. The only thing that seems to be safe for the time being is Analytics, which Twitter says it is not interested in pursuing at this time.

For those that have built their business around the open Twitter service, this may be troubling news.  However, many of those companies are still expected to survive and do well since they have managed to integrate themselves very well into the Twitter community, or expand outside of it.

Twitter applications still have a lot of life left in them, especially as they are able to adapt and evolve just as Facebook applications have. We have seen Twitter integrated into many different kinds of apps and desktop applications, and with Twitter’s open API, there will always be custom development opportunities.

Other Twitter News

This week the Library of Congress announced that it will also be archiving all tweets going back to 2006.  Details are still sparse, but according to their blog, they expect to see scholarly and research implications from the acquisition.

Google also announced their own Twitter archive that allows searchers to replay tweets chronologically for different subjects by date, and search tweet volumes during specific time periods. Although this appears to still be in Google Labs at the moment and archives are only accessible back to February of this year, Google promises to have it fully operational soon.

These both provide great opportunities to research how opinions were directly influenced by events, which could be constructed to be very useful to advertisers and marketers as they can begin to track the amount of interest generated by different campaigns and at different times.

About Monica Valdez

As the Search Visibility Manager at Amadeus Consulting (www.amadeusconsulting.com), Monica’s knowledge is extensive in search engine marketing and conversion optimization strategies. Monica is dedicated to helping both Amadeus Consulting and our clients succeed online and is passionate about all things search. The Search Visibility Insights blog offers knowledge and market-related information for readers interested in the ever-changing world of online marketing trends.


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