Promoted Tweets: lead or gold?

[tweetmeme source=”LANSystems” only_single=false]Promoted tweets have been with us for such a short time, but already declared a success by Twitter and doomed by the blogosphere.  Virgin America claims its fifth highest sales day for special to Toronto launched by promoted tweets.  But they did have a 50% offer so that could have helped.

In truth, promoted tweets will most likely be a successful venture for Twitter and its business model.  Twitter’s COO tells that the company is under no pressure to make a profit from its investors and that they are focusing on the user experience. So we should see only a modest amount of targeted ads that are high value to the user.  The type and frequency of ads will be a barometer of Twitter’s intent. 

Currently, promoted tweets are on a cost-per-impression pricing model, but that could change if they realize quick success and acceptance by the user community.  Of course the advertisers like it, they are getting great exposure and that means name recognition.  But today’s online user is turned off by ads and has adapted by ignoring them. Persuasion is a powerful tool, but once we realize we are being persuaded – resistance is easier.

Ads that we consider spam are easily blocked, but what about subtleties.  With so much obvious fodder in cyberland, our natural defenses tune them out. But what happens when the laws of persuasion and selective perception marketing are newly applied.  It takes a while for our skills improve so we can ignore the new ad stimulus.  It’s not easy to resist because people desire new possessions.  Our buying impulses are quite predictable because product marketing is successful and profitable especially online.

Twitter can’t make everyone happy with promoted tweets no matter what formula they use. Purists want no advertising on the Internet and advertisers want to be highly visible on successful sites. There is no middle ground.  But Twitter can learn from the mistakes of others and if users don’t like the ads, they’ll tweet about it.

If the number of retweets is any measure of success, the launch of promoted tweets was embraced by the Twitter community.  But changes come quickly in cyberspace, so we’ll observe, analyze and redefine our expectations as Twitter learns the advertising ropes.  It makes for good blogging!


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