Twitter’s “Promoted Tweets” ads will work in two ways:
1) Ads will show up in Twitter search and hashtag results. Good for Twitter! This is a no-brainer and something it should have been doing ever since it bought out Summize back in 2008.
Of course Google’s been making oodles of cash by placing little tiny ads next to its search results. The ad model works. GOOD.
2) In the future, Twitter will insert ads into our tweet streams. For those of us that follow a lot of peeps, this may end up being a drop in the bucket and something we can ignore.
But for those people that only follow a few folks, this is going to be a major turnoff. This is going to be the difference between a limo ride with friends and taking the downtown bus with a cart load of strangers.
I’m thinking this second ad method explains the horribly executed Retweet feature. The Retweet was preparing us to see random strangers in our tweet stream. BAD.
So we have the Good and the Bad. The “Uglies” would be Twitter’s decision to gunk up our tweet stream with random tweets. The primary purpose for using Twitter is to read relevant and timely tweets from sources we subscribe to via a Follow. When one of my followers starts spouting out ad-only information, they usually get rewarded with a big UNFOLLOW.
And, when I get unsolicited and automated “@” reply tweets based on my previous tweets, they are promptly ignored. So why is Twitter trying to build an ad system out of poor Twitter practices? UGLIES.
A better way to implement the tweet stream-based ads would be to keep them pinned at the top or bottom of the Twitter.com or Tweetie tweet screen. That way the tweet will be in an obvious ad spot where it can still be read but not confused for a “real” tweet.
When all is said and done, Twitter owns the site and they can do whatever they want with it. I have no disdain for advertising. That’s a major part of my day job. But users have a voice and the value of a network is in its users. Tweet us right Twitter.