This week, Twitter unveiled “Promoted Tweets,” a platform that will allow advertisers to purchase key words that will link to their ads. Not only does the platform promise to be a significant source of revenue for Twitter, it will also give advertisers a lot more flexibility to promote their brands.

One of the frustrations advertisers have had on Twitter is that their Tweets can quickly get lost in the flow of real-time conversation. Promoted Tweets will allow advertisers to stand apart from that flow. For example, when a Twitter user searches for a word that an advertiser has purchased, the promoted message will appear at the top of the results, even though it had been written earlier. As the following example on Twitter’s blog demonstrates, the Tweet will disclose that it is promoted by the advertiser.  

Twitter notes that one significant difference between a Promoted Tweet and a regular Tweet is that Promoted Tweets must resonate with users to stay on the system. “That means if users don't interact with a Promoted Tweet to allow us to know that the Promoted Tweet is resonating with them, such as replying to it, favoriting it, or Retweeting it, the Promoted Tweet will disappear.” The possibility that ads will disappear is built into the platform’s pricing model.

Promoted Tweets will offer companies more flexibility to advertiser on Twitter than ever before. As with most new advertising platforms, though, Promoted Tweets will also offer some challenges. For example, advertisers must be vigilant to ensure that their competitors don’t purchase the advertiser’s trademarks as search terms. Moreover, as we’ve described in other posts (click here, for example), ads that appear in social media platforms like Twitter will be subject traditional advertising laws. Complying with those laws can often be challenging, especially given Twitter’s 140 character limit.