Twitter have recently launched their advertising program, called "Promoted Tweets". The concept is that a company can create a tweet which will be displayed in Twitter account feeds. If the tweet is not retweeted, then it will be removed by Twitter.
The goal is hence to use the viral potential of Twitter, what they call "resonance", and also to secure users' privacy.
Now the system is at an early age, and I believe is quite original. econsultancy.com wrote an article about the first results of Twitter campaigns.
Airline Virgin America sold 500 tickets within three hours. Bravo TV used Promoted Tweets to generate 300 retweets and 200,000 impressions for an Earth Day marketing initiative. Red Bull, which is using Promoted Tweets to connect the company's Twitter account with athletes it sponsors, has seen "engagement rates...higher than typical cost-per-click and CPM advertising."
Now the article is quite critical about how effective these campaigns are, versus other media.
Virgin America sold 500 tickets as part of a promotion offering 50% off flights out of two airports in California. Question one: if Virgin America offered the same discount on its own website, would it have been able to sell 500 tickets too? My answer: probably. Question two: is such a promotion indicative of sustainable performance? Answer: no. More interestingly, Virgin America's VP of Marketing, Porter Gale, told Adweek that its involvement with the launch of Promoted Tweets created approximately $10m in 'media value' for the airline. As I've argued before, media value is a questionable metric at best and marketers often turn to it when they need to justify campaigns. In my opinion, it's a red flag whenever it's used.
For Bravo TV, it's unclear what the 300 retweets and 200,000 impressions did for the cable television network, and whether or not they contributed to the achievement of the goals associated with the broader campaign Bravo TV was using Promoted Tweets to support. For Red Bull, it's unclear what is meant by "engagement rates have been higher than typical cost-per-click and CPM advertising" since 'engagement', as it's commonly used in the social media context, is not something that CPC and CPM advertising is designed to facilitate in the first place.
Now you need to make your own opinion about it. I personally believe Promoted Tweets is quite interesting, and for companies that have already set up strong community management strategies and that owns popular Twitter accounts, it can't be a bad idea.
Now the question remains: Will this system bring Twitter enough revenues to be profitable? Good question. I don't actually know the segmentation potential of this program.