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BizReport : Advertising : April 13, 2010

Twitter rolls out paid search ads

The Twitter ad platform is finally here, coming in the form of Promoted Tweets. The micro-blogging service rolled out the ad platform today along with a set of test-phase brands who will try it out before more ad products are unveiled. The ad format will be similar to paid search/text links. Brands will pay to have their ad appear atop some search results.

by Kristina Knight

twitter.jpgBest Buy, Bravo, Red Bull, Sony Pictures, Starbucks and Virgin America have signed on for the test phase of Promoted Tweets. The tweets appear as pseudo-text messages. A business logo is on the left with the brand name in bold, followed by a 140-word message and link. According to Twitter execs the ad messages must be interacted with - retweeted or responded to in some way - or they will disappear from the top listings.

"We strongly believe that Promoted Tweets should be useful to you. We'll attempt to measure whether the Tweets resonate with users and stop showing Promoted Tweets that don't resonate," writes the company. "Promoted Tweets will be clearly labeled as "promoted" when an advertiser is paying, but in every other respect they will first exist as regular Tweets and will be organically sent to the timelines of those who follow a brand. Promoted Tweets will also retain all the functionality of a regular Tweet including replying, Retweeting, and favoriting. Only one Promoted Tweet will be displayed on the search results page."

The ad format may appeal to Twitter's 22 million users, according to some experts, because the users will have queried the hub for the search results before the paid messages appear. For example, if a user queries the Twitter database for 'expertly roasted coffee' presumably an ad for Starbucks would appear at the top of the listings. Likewise, a search query for 'new Blu-Ray movie' would send a message from Best Buy to the top of the listings.

So far the Promoted Tweets will only appear on the website, so users working from mobile or desktop apps to receive their feeds will continue to see only the posts from their followers. Plans may develop which would allow app-users to see the paid listings.

Tags: promoted tweets, twitter, twitter ad platform, twitter ads

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