Twitter has introduced – partially, with more details to follow – its long-awaited path to monetization, according to the company’s blog..

Called ‘Promoted Tweets,’ the ad platform lets advertisers bid on keywords on a CPM basis. The ad shows up in a related search but remains fixed so it doesn’t disappear in a torrent of tweets. Users will only ever see one Twitter ad at a time, which will retain all the functionality of a regular Tweet including replying, retweeting, and favoriting.

For all the eagerness and impatience that the marketing world has had for a Twitter ad platform, there have been some doubts expressed as to whether it will work now that it is here. There are concerns that the ads may be intrusive – Twitter has been ad-free and the new platform may be jarring to some. At the same time, it is feared that it, by this point in Twitter’s development, is too conservative as well – especially as most companies can get the same results merely by Tweeting to its followers.

As Twitter user angie_seattle pointed out in a PCWorld article, “I don’t understand why a company like @Starbucks gains more from buying a Twitter sponsored ad than from just interacting with customers.” Starbucks wasn’t sure what the company would gain from the new program either, PC World said.

Responding to angie_seattle’s point, Starbucks representative Brad Nelson tweeted, “We’re curious as well. For us, it’s all about giving people the right answers and being relevant when they search.'”

Crisis Response or Just Answering the Question of the Day
Nelson’s response, though, also suggests a way the platform can give companies a value-add. Twitter delivers a wealth of data on subjects people are talking about at the moment. A company – say Toyota when it was dealing with the worst of the negative fallout over the recall – could use the ad platform to answer questions with a link to a larger page.

Compelling Content
Even in its fixed position, the ad will be fighting for real estate with a thousand other Tweets. So make the copy compelling, even if it is just a 10% coupon – which is how most brands use Twitter at the moment.

There are plenty of third-party analytical tools for companies using Twitter right now, but the measurement aspect of Promoted Tweets promises to ratchet up this functionality. Ads that make use of this feature should do well – especially if they are trying out several responses to a quickly-unfolding situation. If the ad isn’t working it will be taken out of rotation.


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