Over the past few years Twitter has become influential enough to be a serious contender in social media marketing; however, it has always struggled to monetize its success and recently this weakness contributed to its share price falling from the high it enjoyed upon flotation in November.
The latest news is that it may finally have found what it needs to change the situation. Promoted profiles will be visible in search from this week and, if accepted by users, may go on to appear in news feeds.
The new model could bring in serious money for Twitter and make all the difference for small and medium-sized companies trying to use the network to promote not just their products but also themselves. A well-laid out, well-fed Twitter page can be a great brand asset, and making it visible to potential new users directly is a great way to build that brand. It is likely to attract three main sets of customers:
- People who have purchased from a company in the past and are interested in doing so again.
- People who are currently on the lookout for a good company of that type.
- People that are impressed by the page itself and the content of the company’s tweets.
The trick for Twitter will be to get the balance of distribution right with these ads so that they increase customer awareness – people are likely to be annoyed if they are continually prompted about something that they have already actively decided not to follow.
One good sign is that the search model places ads at the top where uninterested customers can easily skim past them, but where, if well designed, they will catch the attention of the target market. A strong image or well-designed logo can be a big help with this; when choosing colors, the default will be to make a choice that stands out against the standard blue and white background. It is difficult, however, to see how ads can be made to be easily skimmed in a newsfeed.
“We automatically select relevant search queries for presenting promoted accounts based on an advertiser’s targeting choices, so no additional action is required for your business to access this capability,” says Twitter on its blog; however, determined marketers may want to make a few adjustments nonetheless. In the long run how this works out is going to depend on user reactions, but if it is targeted well it could prove to be a move from which everybody benefits.