In one of the biggest announcements in some time for businesses using social media, Twitter has announced the launch of “promoted accounts”. To you and me, that’s advertising.
It’s only in a testing phase, so it’s not clear how all the details will work, but it seems that Twitter will leverage the existing mechanism that recommends people to follow, and will use this to recommend relevant “promoted accounts”. Twitter gives the example of recommending @xbox to people who are following gaming-related accounts. Ads are also going to be fed via the APIs to third-party software.
This is a huge addition to the existing Twitter site, and it’s not clear how users will react. In the past, attempts to introduce advertising into social sites have attracted negative feedback from users, and it’s well-known that the Twitterati are vocal with their opinions (I speak as one!).
However, there’s so much advertising revenue at stake here that it’s unlikely ads will be taken out of Twitter, no matter what the outcry. The exact way it works is probably still open for negotiation based on feedback and effectiveness.
Watch this space!