Twitter launches promoted accounts

Twitter, a large online social networking website with a traffic rank within the top 10 both globally and in the U.S. announced the launch of promoted accounts on Oct. 4, 2010. Promoted accounts are advertisers that may appear on the right hand side of Twitter account home pages under the ‘who to follow’ section.

Promoted accounts emerged in to the forefront of digital media in the spring of 2010 when Twitter revealed it would allow paid advertising. Moreover, in an April 2010 report by Dallas Lawrence on Mashable news, Twitter’s launch of promoted accounts provides a way to integrate advertising with the online market, albeit with an implicitly market friendly transparency on behalf of Twitter.    

According to Twitter’s blog, promoted accounts utilize a special algorithm that identifies Twitter accounts most likely to be interested in the advertiser account. These advertisers are also Twitter users who make themselves visible to their market with an informational source that engages other Twitter users via online social media, hence the term social marketing. This form of online marketing is more real time and value orientated in the sense new and often unique Tweets are an ongoing occurrence on Twitter.

The process of streamlining or targeting promoted accounts for Twitter follow suggestions is somewhat similar to the YouTube Video  Targeting Tool. However, instead of searching for videos, Twitter promoters first search for Twitter users who they feel have related Tweets, and may also be interested by their Tweets. After following these accounts, Twitter’s algorithm has a basis with which to subsequently match additional Twitter accounts with promoted accounts most likely to meet an informational or product preference.

Promoted Twitter accounts are a step in the evolution of Twitter’s business model. By incorporating advertisers in to their infrastructure, Twitter can generate revenue without necessarily forcefully spamming Tweets to Twitter followers. In other words and at least for the time being, the character of Tweeting and Twitter is preserved more by suggesting promoted accounts rather than simply embedding advertisements onto specific Twitter webpages.

As of early October 2010, Twitter’s launch of promoted accounts is limited to a group of test accounts. Consequently, immediately promoting any given Twitter account may not be possible to all businesses involved with online marketing right away. In the mean time, businesses can still make use of Twitter by generating and developing a commercial presence on Twitter.  In doing so, they may also be better able to utilize any future advertising tools Twitter makes available in the future.

Since Twitter’s launch of promoted accounts, the company claims to have moved promoted accounts to a higher priority location within follow suggestions. This may have been decided upon to test follow trends and statistics both before and after the location of the promoted Twitter accounts were changed. Twitter has also indicating there are more change comings following the launch of promoted Twitter accounts. Specifically, Twitter intends to incorporate more advertisers into their website using more than just promoted accounts, but also promoted trends and tweets in different display formats.

Sources: (Date of record, October 6, 2010)

1. (Twitter)
2. (Alexa)
3. (YouTube)
4. (Mashable)