June 27th, 2011
Twitter adds in stream ads: Yay or nay?
The Trends sidebar will no longer be the only place where Twitter sells promotion. The site will now be moving towards “In Stream” ads as a part of its service to potential advertisers.
As Twitter continues to try to monetize its site through the services it offers, it finds itself in a difficult place. The site needs to assert profits, but also continue to please users and it finds itself in between a rock and a hard place.
It is no secret or surprise that Twitter is moving towards advertising more aggressively, but it remains to be seen if backlash from users will halt monetization. As of now “Promoted Trends” sell for $125,000 on the site. Since April of 2010, Twitter has been making moves towards integrating ads in the form of “Promoted Tweets” and then “Promoted Trends” on the site.
Now the site will see “Promoted Tweets” appearing in the main timeline on the site, which mind you is largely the biggest focus of Twitter. The sites feed will now place promoted tweets from brands appear higher in their stream despite being posted hours before. Testing on the third-party mobile client HootSuit, has been underway for quite some time as the site tries not to repeat the fail of #Dickbar, aka “QuickBar”.
The #Dickbar controversy and fail occurred when Twitter integrated a prominently displayed promotion in the timeline on the Twitter iPhone app, which resulted in a hashtag uproar forcing Twitter to take the feature off of the app.
The inclusion of the promoted topics and trends begs two important questions: the effectiveness of the promotion itself, Super 8 performed much higher at the box office than anticipated in large part due to social media traffic possibly resulting from its promotion on Twitter; and whether users will accept the new feature.
“Bridesmaids” director, Paul Feig, noted on What’s Trending the effectiveness of an organic trend over a promoted one.
Will Twitter users react in the same way to the In-Stream ads as they did to the #Dickbar? Twitter doesn’t seem to think so and the importance of cash flow outweighs the threat of a possible backlash. After all, this year Twitter is expecting a modest $100 million in revenue, compared to Facebook’s $3.5 billion in projected display ad revenue. They can use all the help they can get.
What do you think? Are the In Stream ads annoying or a smart move towards pulling in ad revenue?