Category Archives: Twitter Ads

Twitter’s Paid Advertising Rolls Out To More Users Through Hootsuite

Today when I opened HootSuite there was a notification that Twitter wanted to give me the opportunity to run ads or promote my account:

Twitter explained:

“As with all of our advertising efforts, we are being thoughtful and deliberate in how we roll out self-serve to all kinds of small and local businesses,” she said. “We are testing out various ways to roll out this offering, including offers to Twitter users by companies like HootSuite.”

TechCrunch said that is “understands from a source” that this is the first signal that “a deeper partnership between the two may be in the works.”

A Hootsuite spokesperson commented:

“Real-time conversations are happening on Twitter, and we are excited to enable our users to drive even greater engagement on Twitter with Twitter advertising. We are currently conducting a trial with the Twitter team to gauge the appetite for Twitter advertising with a small sample of our userbase. As our users are some of the most influential and prolific social media practitioners on the planet, sending north of 2 million messages per day on behalf of SME brands, this trial will help us set roadmap to better service them.”

A quick check of Twitter.com displayed a similar notification to what I saw in HootSuite:

Since my wife Sarah is promoting the Twin Cities Voice Acting Expo right now, I thought it might be interesting to see if Twitter would help her find people interested in free events at the Expo.

Twitter: We’ll Take Your Money, But WE Decide What To Spend It On

But, alas, Twitter doesn’t let you select which tweets to promote to others. What the heck, Twitter? I get the idea that if you wanted to promote your account (which we don’t) promoting your most interesting tweets would amount to almost the same thing: more people would learn about your account.

I believe Twitter offers a different interface for folks who spend $15,000/month or more (based on past info I’ve seen). But for “small fry” the only thing Twitter really offers is promoting your already popular (“most engaged”) tweets, or promoting the ideas of following your account.

One of the pop-ups on the interface explains their rule:

“Instead of writing an ad, you simply continue to post regular Tweets in your timeline. Twitter analyzes the engagement rate of each of your Tweets in real time to determine the best ones to promote. Up to 5 Tweets may be promoted at any given time.”

Regular Users Discouraged, Businesses Welcomed

Basically, your entire account should be devoted in some way to something that pays you money, because if you spend money with Twitter, it’s your ACCOUNT that will be promoted, regardless of how you direct them to spend the money. My @TweetSmarter account isn’t about making a buck, so it makes no sense to pay to promote it. Sure, it enhances my “brand,” which helps all that I do, yada yada, but I prefer maintaining @TweetSmarter as a service to help others, rather than some kind of make-a-buck effort.

Twitter has reported great engagement on Tweets that were paid to be promoted, so I’m not knocking that the system works. It just isn’t a system where you can promote a particular message.

Buying Fake Followers?

Twitter “Promoted Account” option shows your account as a recommended follow to users. Of course, there is no way to tell if real users follow you, since Twitter can’t tell the difference between a real person and a fake account designed to act like a real person. So while it has proven in past reports to get people followers, I would consider promoting your account on your own website, in your emails and in other spaces that you control to be a much better investment in finding real people you would like to have as followers.

Here’s a screenshot of the actual purchasing interface Twitter provides (click to enlarge). I’ve expanded each section so you can see the whole interface in one image:

I did try posting a tweet about free events at the expo, and then eliminating other tweets from the list Twitter provided, but it insisted there be five tweets, and although my expo tweet appeared on the list, as soon as I started removing other tweets, the expo tweet disappeared. I suppose if all I ever did was tweet things I wanted promoted, or I was mainly interested in simply gaining in Twitter popularity (I’m not) this would be fine.

Even though the HootSuite notification mentioned a $100 credit, I saw no evidence of that on Twitter’s interface, which wanted my credit card. Since they didn’t have anything I wanted to pay for, and no indication I wouldn’t be charged, I haven’t yet run any Twitter advertising of any kind.

Clicking around the interface, I found Twitter’s explanation:

“Twitter regularly analyzes your Tweets to find up to 5 of your most engaging, recent Tweets. View these Tweets below and remove the ones that you never want Twitter to promote. Your replies and retweets will not be considered for promotion.”

I’ve never seen an advertising program before where the people that take your money won’t let you choose what happens when you spend it. Twitter is definitely a bird of a different color.

Additional Info From Twitter’s Ad Interface

Here are Twitter official FAQs about advertising:

Here are the Twitter Advertising Terms as of March 7, 2012 (that you must agree to to run ads):

These terms (the “Agreement”) are entered into by, as applicable, the individual or legal entity (“you”), that accepts this Agreement and Twitter, Inc. (“we” or “Twitter”). This Agreement governs your participation in the Twitter advertising program (the “Program”). You may place orders for Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts, and other forms of advertising in the Program that we make available from time to time (“Promoted Products”) via your online account. By doing so, you agree to the terms of this Agreement and any additional terms presented to you via the Program interface. If you do not agree to the terms of this Agreement, you cannot place orders in or otherwise participate in the Program.

  1. Revisions to this Agreement. Twitter reserves the right to revise this Agreement from time to time. When Twitter revises this Agreement, Twitter will present the revised terms to you for your acceptance. The terms in effect when you initiate or modify a Promoted Products campaign will govern your and Twitter’s rights and obligations in relation to such campaign. At any time, the current Promoted Products terms can be accessed via a link within the Program.
  2. The Program. Your participation in the Program is subject to your compliance with our policies as updated from time to time. These policies include Twitter’s Promoted Products Policy (https://twitter.com/adspolicy) and Trademark Guidelines (https://support.twitter.com/twittermarks) (the “Policies”). We may modify or cancel the Program, or modify the Policies at any time without liability to you or any third party in connection with such modification or cancellation. Please visit the links provided above to view the most current version of the Policies. Your use of the Program is subject to the version of the Policies applicable at the commencement of each advertising campaign run via the Program. The Program is available to you only in the United States, its territories, and possessions. You agree not to use or attempt to use the Program from outside these locations. Twitter may use technologies to verify your compliance with this restriction.
  3. Your Promoted Products. You are responsible for: (a) your Promoted Products, which will include content, information, and URLs, (b) interests, keywords, and other features made available to you from time to time to target Promoted Products (“Targets”), and (c) websites, landing pages, and advertised services and products to which your Promoted Products link or direct users (“Services”). You will protect your passwords appropriately and are responsible for access to your account by you and any third party. You agree to immediately notify Twitter of any security breach of your account. Twitter will not be responsible for any losses arising out of the unauthorized use of your account.
  4. Circulation of Promoted Products. We may place the Promoted Products, without restriction as to placement, on any content or property provided by Twitter or our partners and reference Promoted Products for our marketing and promotional purposes. For quality control and serving purposes for the benefit of Twitter users, we may use automated software to screen any websites and URLs included by you in a Promoted Product. We may modify a Promoted Product to comply with the Policies or this Agreement, provided, such modifications will only be in the form of deleting a Promoted Product in its entirety, resizing, or reformatting solely in connection with the Program. Twitter or its third-party partners may reject or remove any Promoted Product, campaign or Target for any or no reason. You cannot modify Promoted Tweets that have been sent, but you can delete the underlying Tweet to avoid further promotion of that Tweet. Because we offer an open platform, we cannot guarantee that all our partners or users will delete any Promoted Product that you delete or that Promoted Products sent by SMS or certain forms of syndication will be deleted. We cannot guarantee impressions, conversions, clicks, Retweets, follows, replies, favorites, blocks or any other actions taken (collectively “User Actions”) with your Promoted Products.
  5. Termination. You may delete or cancel Promoted Products at any time via your account interface, provided, you will be responsible for fees for Promoted Products delivered prior to deletion or cancellation. Promoted Products will cease shortly after deletion or cancellation. If you breach, or Twitter suspects that you have breached, any provision of this Agreement, Twitter, in its sole discretion, without notice to you may: (i) terminate this Agreement and/or your account (and you will remain liable for all amounts due under your account up to and including the date of termination); and/or (ii) preclude access to the Program (or any part thereof).
  6. Restrictions. You will not, and will not authorize any party to: (a) generate automated, fraudulent or otherwise invalid User Actions (b) use any automated means or form of scraping or data extraction to access, query or otherwise collect information related to the Program from any website or property except as expressly permitted by us; or (c) advertise anything illegal or engage in any illegal or fraudulent business practice. You must have and grant to us and our partners any rights (including without limitation any copyright, trademark, patent, publicity or other rights) in your Promoted Products, Services and Targets needed for us and our partners to operate the Program. You represent and warrant that (y) all your information is complete, correct and current; and (z) your use of the Program and your Promoted Products, Targets, and Services do not and will not violate or encourage violation of any applicable laws, regulations, or code of conduct, nor infringe or misappropriate any third-party rights (including without limitation privacy and intellectual property rights). Violation of the foregoing may result in immediate termination or suspension of your account without notice and may subject you to legal penalties and consequences. Twitter has the right, but not the obligation, to monitor any materials submitted by you or otherwise available through the Program, to investigate any reported or apparent violation of this Agreement, and to take any action that Twitter in its sole discretion deems appropriate.
  7. Confidentiality. Much of the Program is confidential to Twitter, as further described herein. “Confidential Information” means any business or technical information related to Twitter, the technology used to provide the Twitter Service, and Twitter’s Promoted Products that is marked “confidential” or “proprietary” at the time of disclosure, or, by its nature or content is reasonably distinguishable as confidential or proprietary. The following shall be deemed Confidential Information, without limitation: the Twitter account interface and features, campaign management tools and user interface, analytics and activity dashboards, pricing, best practices materials, marketing collateral, onboarding materials and webinars, information on Twitter metrics and user demographics, and the terms of this Agreement. Confidential Information does not include information that: (a) is or becomes generally known to the public through no fault of or breach of this Agreement by you; (b) is rightfully known by you at the time of disclosure without an obligation of confidentiality; (c) is independently developed by you without use of the Confidential Information; or (d) you rightfully obtain from a third party without restriction on use or disclosure. You will not use the Confidential Information except as necessary for the performance of this Agreement and will not disclose such Confidential Information to any third party except to those employees and subcontractors that need to know such Confidential Information for the purpose of performing this Agreement, provided that each such employee and subcontractor is subject to a written agreement that includes binding use and disclosure restrictions that are at least as protective as those set forth herein. You will use all reasonable efforts to maintain the confidentiality of all such Confidential Information, but in no event less than the efforts that you ordinarily use with respect to your own proprietary information of similar nature and importance. The foregoing obligations will not restrict you from disclosing Confidential Information: (i) pursuant to the order or requirement of a court, administrative agency, or other governmental body, provided that you give reasonable notice to Twitter to contest such order or requirement; and (ii) on a confidential basis to your legal or financial advisors. You agree to hold Confidential Information in confidence during the Agreement and for a period of three (3) years from the date of termination.
  8. Disclaimer and Limitation of Liability. To the fullest extent permitted by law, WE DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION FOR NONINFRINGEMENT, SATISFACTORY QUALITY, MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR ANY PURPOSE. To the fullest extent permitted by law, we disclaim all guarantees regarding positioning, levels, quality, or timing of: (i) costs per click; (ii) click through rates; (iii) availability and delivery of any impressions, Promoted Products, or Targets on any Twitter or partner property; (iv) any User Actions; (v) conversions or other results for any Promoted Products or Targets; (vi) the accuracy of data; and (vii) the adjacency or placement of Promoted Products within the Program. Your exclusive remedy, and our exclusive liability, for suspected invalid User Actions is to make a claim for a refund in the form of Promoted Products credits within the time period required under Section 10 below. Any refunds for suspected invalid User Actions are within our sole discretion. EXCEPT FOR INDEMNIFICATION OBLIGATIONS HEREUNDER AND YOUR BREACH OF SECTION 7 (CONFIDENTIALITY), TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW: (a) NEITHER OF US WILL BE LIABLE FOR ANY CONSEQUENTIAL, SPECIAL, INDIRECT, EXEMPLARY, OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION LOSS OF PROFITS, REVENUE, INTEREST, GOODWILL, LOSS OR CORRUPTION OF DATA OR FOR ANY LOSS OR INTERRUPTION TO YOUR BUSINESS) WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION NEGLIGENCE) OR ANY OTHER LEGAL THEORY, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES AND NOTWITHSTANDING ANY FAILURE OF ESSENTIAL PURPOSE OF ANY LIMITED REMEDY; AND (b) EACH OF THE PARTIES’ LIABILITY TO THE OTHER IS LIMITED TO AMOUNTS PAID OR PAYABLE TO US BY YOU FOR THE PROMOTED PRODUCT GIVING RISE TO THE CLAIM. Except for payment obligations, neither of us are liable for failure or delay resulting from a condition beyond each of our reasonable control, including without limitation to acts of God, government, terrorism, natural disaster, labor conditions and power failures.
  9. Agencies. If you are an agency representing an advertiser, you agree (a) that you are authorized to act on behalf of and have bound the advertiser to this Agreement, (b) to secure and maintain all rights from the advertiser needed to enter into this Agreement, and (c) you will not disclose the advertiser’s Program information to any other party without the advertiser’s consent.
  10. Payment. You will be responsible for all charges up to the amount of each campaign set in your online account and will pay all charges in USD. All sales are final. We accept payment by credit card and reserve the right to change the credit cards we accept at any time. Twitter may obtain preapproval for an amount based on your projected budget. When you specify a payment source to us, you confirm that you are (a) permitted to use that payment source; (b) authorize us to collect and store it, solely as needed to complete the transaction; and (c) authorize Twitter to charge the full amounts due to that payment source. If you want to designate a different credit card or if there is a change in your credit card, you must change your information online in the account information section of the Program; this may temporarily disrupt your access to the Program while Twitter verifies your new payment information. We will bill your payment source periodically as your Promoted Products incur charges. If a payment by you results in additional fees from your financial institution, such as overage fees, you agree to be solely responsible for such fees. In the event your payment method fails, we may take steps to collect past due amounts. You are responsible for paying any reasonable expenses and attorneys fees we incur for collecting late amounts. To the fullest extent permitted by law, you waive all claims relating to charges unless claimed within 60 days after the charge (this does not affect your credit card issuer rights). Charges are solely based on our measurements for the Program. To the fullest extent permitted by law, refunds (if any) are at Twitter’s discretion and only in the form of advertising credit for the Program. We are not obligated to extend credit to you. You allow us to share your credit card and related billing and payment information with companies who work on our behalf, such as payment processors, collection agencies, and credit agencies, solely for the purposes of checking credit, effecting payment and servicing your account. We may also provide information in response to valid legal process, such as subpoenas, search warrants and court orders, or to establish or exercise our legal rights or defend against legal claims. If you are under the age of 18, your parent or guardian must accept these terms and make payments on your behalf. The Program is not available to users under the age of 13.
  11. Credits. To the extent you have received free advertising credits for the Program, you will be charged automatically for any Promoted Products charges beyond the credit amount. Credits cannot be combined with other offers, nor transferred or sold. Credits are not redeemable for cash. Any refunds for credits spent in the Program will be solely in the form of additional advertising credits. All unused credits (or remaining portion of credits) will expire at 11:59 PM PST on December 31, 2012, unless otherwise specified in the offer terms for the credits.
  12. Indemnification. You will indemnify and defend us, our partners, agents, affiliates, and licensors from any third-party claim or liability, arising out of your Promoted Products, Targets or Services; our use of your Promoted Products, Targets or Services for the Program; your use of the Program; and your breach of this Agreement.
  13. Miscellaneous. This Agreement will be governed by California law except for its conflicts of laws principles. All claims arising out of or relating to this Agreement or the Program will be litigated exclusively in the federal or state courts of San Francisco County, California, USA, and you consent to personal jurisdiction in those courts. This Agreement (which includes any additional rights or obligations contained in the Program interface) constitutes the entire and exclusive agreement between us with respect to the subject matter hereof, and supersedes and replaces any other statements on the same subject matter. In no event shall any additional or conflicting terms tendered by you under a purchase order or other document have any effect. A waiver of any default is not a waiver of any other default. Unenforceable provisions will be modified only to the extent necessary to make them enforceable, and remaining provisions of this Agreement will remain in full effect. You will not assign any of your rights hereunder. Twitter retains the right to assign its rights and delegate its duties under this Agreement. We are not legal partners or agents of each other, but are independent contractors. In the event that this Agreement or the Program(s) expire or are terminated, we are not obligated to return any materials to you. Notice to you may be provided by sending an email to the email address specified in your account, or by posting a message to your account interface, and is deemed received when sent (for email) or no more than 15 days after having been posted (for messages in your account interface). The headings of the sections of this Agreement are for convenience only and will not be of any effect in construing the meanings of the sections.

 

 

 

How Can You Get a Verified Twitter Account?

Please note that: @TweetSmarter is not verified, not a Twitter partner, we don’t work for Twitter, and we don’t run Twitter ads.

The upshot: Unless you’re famous and being impersonated, or an important politician or government agency, to get verified:

  • It costs $15,000 to be verified for 90 days -or-
  • You need someone who spends (probably more than) $5,000/month to ask on your behalf (many artists get verified this way without knowing how their agent or agency got them verified)

This is based on my experience, and a recent article from the holder of a verified  Twitter account that says specifically this is how verification works:

“…you need to spend a minimum of $15,000 ($5K over three months) in order to “buy” verified status from Twitter. Or you need to know someone who’s “in” with Twitter (read: spending ad dollars with them) who wants you or your business to get verified.”

(But: see below for some “loopholes.”) This has also been confirmed by AdAge, which states “A Twitter Sales Rep Said Getting Verified Costs $15K.” Elsewhere, Twitter is quoted as saying:

“Twitter currently verifies government accounts, accounts at risk of identity confusion or impersonation, and a select number of business accounts for alpha testing.”

“…Please note: Twitter isn’t verifying business accounts yet unless they’re part of the alpha testing program. If you are part of the alpha testing program and your request was denied, please visit your business center page for more information.”

“Verification is something we offer our active advertisers meeting the $5K/month minimum spend associated with our Platform Partnership.”

“…If you were to re-visit Promoted Products further down the road and were able to meet that $5K/month minimum, this verification would be reinstated.”

Twitter Will REMOVE Your Verification If You Don’t Keep Paying Up

This means that for some, if you don’t pay Twitter $5,000/month, you won’t be verified/will lose your verification!

Twitter told an account holder who had been verified, and then UN-verified:

“One way to receive verification is if you are being impersonated (i.e. celebrity, politician, etc). The other is if you are an active advertiser. When you are running Promoted Products, verification is a value-add similar to analytics and Brand Pages. Digital Trends (the name of the account that had been verified and then UNverified) received verification as an active and engaged partner on our ad platform. Since you are no longer advertising, you no longer have that value-add.”

Twitter specifically says that their “…verified accounts program is currently closed to the public” and that they are “not able to accept public requests for verification.” But, “If you’re one of our partners or advertisers, please follow up with your account manager for details.”

The “Loopholes”

It’s really hard to predict who can get verified. Twitter even verifies fictional accounts at times! Official Red Cross digital volunteers have also been verified in the past (in advance of Hurricane Irene).

Some people even get verified without knowing why, others with a legitimate request “try everything” with no success.

The Hidden Truth

Twitter lets their “partners” (mainly companies that spend a lot of money doing advertising with Twitter) request verification for pretty much anyone, and that’s why some people get verified without knowing why: their agent/manager/etc is connected with a Twitter partner and put in the request.

In that case, it’s the old game of “who you know.” Unless you want to spend a lot of money with Twitter yourself.

Of course, there are sometime conflicting stories. Take, for example, how @CharleSheen got verified so fast: His people worked through Twitter partner ad.ly. Or did they? Gullov-Singh (@Arnie) of ad.ly was directly quoted saying:

“…we got [Sheen] verified through Twitter….We know a bunch of people at Twitter, and we reached out to them…”

…but then Sean Garret of Twitter said this is specifically NOT true about Sheen. (I reached out to both for clarification. Hat tip to @Kim for drawing my attention to this.)

Can you buy a verified account?

Yes and no. Apparently even after you spend $15,000 you still have to ask, and Twitter can still turn you down.

And verified accounts that aren’t very popular—some with as little as 1,373 followers, as @nwjerseyliz points out, are likely verified through organizations that advertise with Twitter or work with Twitter partners, or they got in back when the system was public, and they were public or semi-public figures that had problems with impersonation.

What else can you do?

Realize that even in the past, they mostly only verified public accounts that were in danger of impersonation (“accounts who deal with identity confusion regularly”), so they are unlikely to make verification ever available simply by a request accompanied by proof.

If you have an official website, link to your Twitter profile from it—it’s the easiest way to prove your identity to followers. Don’t put fake “Verified” symbols on your background or in your username, such as “verified ✔”—it just looks lame. Real verified accounts will look like this:

Why Wasn’t My Account Verified?

The official word from Twitter is here.

Special features of verified accounts

On July 4, Twitter began allowing Verified Accounts the option to receive DMs from ANY follower. and in January 2012 they began distributing verified account information to third party apps.

Three ways Twitter can make money

Show us trends by topic

There are tweets about the latest trend for almost any topic you can imagine. Twitter should let you choose which kind of topic trends you want information about, from general, such as Fashion or Tech, to more specific, such as iPhone development or US Political news. Then they monetize by showing us ads relevant to those trends…with general ads mixed in as necessary.

The problem: Twitter itself doesn’t know what is trending for different topics. But, many services and users exist to find the best tweets about different topics; Twitter could follow their example or buy or partner with users/services.

Have key accounts people are required to follow

Similarly, have official accounts for different topics. Require that each user follow a general “Twitter urgent notifications” account and at least one official account for a topic that interests you. Then let users decide whether they want to see more or fewer tweets from those accounts (by following @t_fashion_all vs @t_fashion_min for example). Then ads can be mixed into the tweets from these accounts.

The problem: This would require a change to Twitter’s infrastructure, and finding the right balance of tweets, such as deciding when to repeat tweets.

Provide services people want

I know that there are tons and tons of features that users absolutely love that Twitter doesn’t provide. I spend hours every week helping users find and use tools that allow things such as searching old tweets. There is a way to monetize this that I haven’t seen anyone try, nor anyone talk about. I’m going to propose how that might work in my next blog post. So stay tuned!

 

So How Does Twitter Make Money, Anyway?

UPDATE: As of 12-15-10, you can buy Twitter Advertising online. As of 2-14-11, buying a promoted trend on Twitter costs $120,000/day

Both third-party ad brokers and Twitter itself have gone through a few twists and turns that shows no signs of getting easier to understand any time soon. As of early 2011, the latest development is that Twitter has two partners that will sell you access to search the “firehose” (the stream of all tweets)—@gnip and @DataSift.

We won’t run ads. No wait, we’ll run several kinds

First, the co-founder of Twitter said Twitter wasn’t considering an advertising-based business model at all. So many companies jumped in to run ads on Twitter. If Twitter wasn’t going to do it, why not?

Then Twitter began testing not one, but several ad programs, and set a bunch of restrictions on anyone but Twitter showing ads. Of course the about-face had everyone up in arms, and required some clarification from Twitter.

There are many kinds of ads that can be Twitter-related. For example, many tools and apps for Twitter are advertising sponsored. PowerTwitter, for example, changes the look and function of your Twitter web page—and adds advertising that can confuse users as to whether its coming from Twitter.

I’m going to concentrate in this post primarily on ads from Twitter, and ads that look like tweets.

►  TIP: If you just want to send tweets that you get paid for, check out this list.

Twitter offers up to five kinds of ads now:

  1. Promoted Tweets on Twitter.com
  2. Third Party Promoted Tweets
  3. Trending Topics Ads (“Promoted Trends“)
  4. Sponsored Definitions
  5. @EarlyBird specials (Edit: Twitter cancelled these “Special time-bound deals, sneak-peeks, and events”)

And, make no mistake, Twitter’s ads are showing great potential. A test of Twitter advertising by Coke may have set an internet advertising record.

Other Twitter revenue sources

Will Twitter squash its competition?

There are at least ten third-party companies that offer ads on Twitter that show up as tweets. They broker between the advertiser and the user. Twitter, as mentioned, has limited what they can do. But will we see future announcements of greater limitations?

Right now, advertisement brokers are pushing hard against Twitter’s rules—and risking being banned. Basically, can you make an ad that isn’t a tweet, and isn’t in the stream with other tweets, but still have it look like a tweet? Twitter needs to set clearer standards on this.

They could also set the standard for identifying ads that are actual tweets. You can do anything you want currently. At one time you could tell some URLs were affiliate links (for example, Amazon.com’s link shortener). But Twitter now reshortens shortened links so they are run through Twitter’s system for checking for malware, and to provide a consistent URL length.

Most important: Twitter should be able to set clearer standards without ever affecting what users can and cannot tweet.

Know of a company offering ads on Twitter? Leave a comment and I’ll update this post and credit you.

More third-party ad brokers are coming

I think this is a given. Eventually, there could be a shakeout, but it’s not that hard to start a service to fit advertisers with people who want to tweet ads for pay.

For now, and in no particular order (using only easily accessible information from each company’s website), third-party Twitter ad brokers include:

PayMeTweets

Earn Money on Twitter by simply following @PayMeTweets. If you see a tweet on the @PayMeTweets page you’d like to RT for pay, click the rtee.me link at the end of the tweet. Once you accumulate $25 in your account you can request a withdrawal. You can also use the money you earn to pay for your own sponsored tweets, a sort of tweet exchange.

SponsoredTweets/Izea

Sponsored Tweets is a new Twitter advertising platform that connects advertisers with tweeters. Advertisers can create sponsored conversations on Twitter. Tweeters can earn money for spreading the word.

MyLikes

Create sponsored likes – Donate or earn money. Create and publish your likes to your twitter, blog or youtube. The more influential you are, the more you get paid
Use word of mouth to advertise your business. Choose to run a text or video campaign. Choose to pay for clicks, tweets or videos

Ad.ly

Distribute your message through influencers on Twitter & MySpace. Ad.ly’s Performance Ads enable you to target end users in the stream based on what they are reading, their location, and their interests.
Ad.ly’s machine learning algorithms ensure that your ads find the right audience. Leverage Ad.ly’s self-service platform now or contact our direct sales team to get started.

Twittad

Twittad is the largest and most effective form of sponsored advertising on Twitter.
Your brand will be promoted across the entire eco-system by evangelists who want to help promote your brand! You can also use our technology for targeted @replies to consumers who mention specific keywords, key phrases OR consumers tweeting near your business!
As a Twitter User, you can use the Twittad network to safely and effectively monetize your content. Promote only who you want!

adCause

adCause matches advertisers with publishers (twitter users). Publishers will get paid show ads in their twitter feed. The more influence you have on twitter, the more money you will make.
Do I have to give money to a charity or a cause? Of course not, you can keep all the dough for yourself, but why not throw your favorite cause or charity a bone. Other users will be more accepting of you displaying ads if they know that some or all of the proceeds are going to a good cause.

Magpie

Magpie, the original Twitter advertising network, assists brands to harness the power of conversation.
Our platform enables advertisers to create relevant, controlled and individualized sponsored conversations in a mutually beneficial partnership between advertisers and twitterers.

RevTwt

General ad network.

140 Proof

Most ad solutions just sell keywords because they can’t deliver measurable engagement or real brand connection. 140 Proof™ can.
140 Proof lets you see customers through the lens of Twitter. We match ads to people by what they care about, using public Twitter data. Successful ads are retweeted and shared with followers. You pay only for your “first-order” audience; succeeding reach via retweets and word of mouth is both free and quantifiable.
140 Proof’s patent-pending algorithm reaches the right audience across mobile devices, desktop clients, and the web: wherever tweets are served. Find out more about how 140 Proof can help your brand connect and conquer.

TweetMart

Think of tweetmart as classifieds for Twitter®. It is a free an easy way to buy and sell “stuff” or search and post jobs on Twitter®.

From "What Are The Unspoken Rules of Social Networks?"

Pay 4 Tweet

A way to help successful publishers add Twitter as a revenue source, while keeping the process simple and transparent to both advertisers and publishers.

TweetUp

Lets you bid for keywords, and have your tweets shown as ads across a variety of platforms when people search for those keywords. Kind of a mini-Google AdWords for tweets.

What’s allowed, what’s not—for now

Twitter and most of what are now its competitors in the ad marketplace are scrambling to make deals to get their ads into popular programs such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Seesmic, etc. The makers of those popular programs have their own ideas for showing ads as well.

This is what required some clarification from Twitter a while back. Third-party apps and devices can show ads, but they have to be careful that they don’t look like they are in the stream of “real” tweets.  Ad.ly in particular is pushing hard against Twitter’s rules.

Of course, if you want to send tweets that are ads—which then show up in other people’s stream of real tweets, Twitter won’t stop you, and will probably never limit your options. They will likely continue making rules for the ad companies, but not for users.

Now that Twitter is showing so many kinds of ads, will they continue to increase the methods of “official” advertising they show? Hard to say, but it’s a trend that doesn’t seem to have stopped yet. I would expect at least one more announcement from Twitter about a new/enhanced/expanded advertising opportunity available through Twitter.

Google ads that are tweets

Earlier this year, Google began running tweets in locations that ads would usually go in. This amounts to advertising your Twitter profile, helping users to get more followers and build their brand. By entering the marketplace of ways to advertise your Twitter profile, Google signaled it was leaving no stone unturned in efforts to monetize the existence of Twitter.

Ways to advertise your Twitter profile

In addition to Google, you can advertise your Twitter profile via several services, including:

Showing you profile by showing a recent or selected tweet is the most common way these services work.

Disclosure: We did some consulting for Chirrps since we love their service—you should try it!—and they gave us a free featured user spot afterward as an unexpected thank you.

We did gain quite a few followers that can be directly attributed to being featured, so I can recommend their spot based on our experience. However, I don’t know what it costs, or what results you should expect.

Should YOU tweet ads?

Realize that paid tweets make most users very little money. Which leaves many people feeling that they are selling out for little gain. But a lot of users do show paid tweets. Most started by testing them and seeing what complaints they got, and how much money they made and then deciding whether to continue.

Also, there are a wide variety of systems for choosing what you tweet. Some let you write most of the tweet. I tested a system some months ago when I saw that two of the paid tweets were things I had already tweeted about for free. But after running three ads one weekend, I decided against continuing. I would only want to tweet things I actually endorsed or felt were useful to share, and finding those things is difficult.

Twice when we found a product we were ecstatic about, we tweeted an affiliate link (Amazon.com) to where we purchased the product. This I feel good about. Something that naturally occurs in our life that could be of benefit to others we of course already share.

Have we missed anything?

Know of another company offering ads on Twitter? Leave a comment below and I’ll update this post and credit you.

Thanks!

P.S. I was tempted—for about a second—to join affiliate programs for the ad programs listed here and link to them via affiliate links. But firstly, it’s a lot of hassle to do so for very little return. Then there is the whole feeling that I’m sharing this information for no other reason than to make a few bucks. Everyone needs money to live, but for now I’m just very uninterested in most ways I’ve seen of using ads to make money from Twitter.

Over 5 MILLION people respond to Twitter ad…in just 24 hours

UPDATE: June 1, 2011—

  • A Volvo ad had 50% engagement rate.
  • A Radio Shack promotion ran for one day on Twitter. Next three days, instore exchanges and purchases, up double-digits from day before ad ran. And ad didn’t run anywhere else.

The Next Web reports that the second ever Promoted Tweet had 6% engagement on 85 million impressions.

Whoa.

That’s over 5 million people engaging from just one tweet.

Did Twitter just became the gold standard for online advertising?

Even at a more typical .02% response to online advertising, that would represent 170,000 people engaging. So, while it’s too early to say for sure, Twitter appears headed into the stratosphere of the online advertising world. I can’t decide if the response rate or the total engagement is more impressive.

The advertiser, Coke, saw these results in 24 hours, according to Yahoo Finance and the Financial Times, from this tweet:

Captured by UK Tweeter Neville Hobson/@jangles for TheNextWeb

Of course, the US and UK have huge populations on Twitter, and this tweet ran during the US vs England World Cup match. While Coke is clearly not a newcomer to recognizing good advertising opportunities, Promoted tweets seem to have a potential never seen before in online advertising.

Best of all: You can ignore them

But you know what I like best? Promoted Tweets are minimally intrusive. Easy to ignore, but still apparently great for advertisers.

What do you think?

  1. Do you mind Promoted Tweets?
  2. Would you respond to a Promoted Tweet? Did you respond to the Coke ad?
  3. Is this a good way for Twitter to pay its bills while keeping the user experience positive for it’s users?

UPDATE: @DaveWiner points out in fact, that this is really, really hard to believe. Good point. Wouldn’t be surprised to hear some backtracking on this later. But for now, just…wow.

Twitter’s Deadly Problem: The “Tweet At The Top” is Becoming Invisible

What if the police put up lots of fake speed limit signs—that you didn’t have to follow—and then set up speed traps wherever the speed actually changed after a real sign? They would catch a lot of motorists going the wrong speed. Many people would fail to notice which the real signs were at first (did you take a close enough look at the photo with this article?).

But then what if someone tied huge orange banners to the fake signs?

Very quickly everyone would learn to tune out any sign with an orange banner. This is why banner ads on websites work so poorly. Because of their recognizable wide size and position at top or bottom, and because they are rarely relevant to our purpose in coming to a site, we quickly learn to tune them out.

Humans are great at tuning out non-relevant, easily identifiable information.

Twitter is putting ads that look like tweets at the top of streams. Their deadly problem is that they are literally teaching us to tune them out because they aren’t yet relevant to most people. They will have to become extraordinarily relevant or interesting to break through the fact that we are being taught not to read them. They are failing to use promoted tweets effectively to teach us not to tune out the “tweet at the top.”

How expensive will this mistake be?

At one of this country’s largest Renaissance Festival some years ag0, I had 50 people working for me at a series of souvenir shops. During the first year, I determined that awareness of our products was low. It was because salespeople were trained to behave aggressively toward visitors. Yes, they were entertaining, but people for the most part avoided the areas around the shops with the most “entertaining” salespeople, realizing they were basically being accosted.

So I set up a product display—basic merchandising—at location that led to a shop, but was not near the shop. People were free to visit or ignore the product while being guaranteed to avoid the salespeople. Sales had been stagnant at this location for several years, always hovering just under $100,000 for the 15 days of the festival. I didn’t get the display up for the first two days of the festival, so the test would only run for 13 days.

The result? Even though we’d missed nearly 1/7th of the festival, sales were OVER $200,000. That’s right—sales more than DOUBLED when we overcame the problem of people tuning out. (Traffic—the number of visitors— was steady and weather was similar for all the years of this test.)

No matter how great Twitter’s sponsored tweets are, if they TEACH people to tune them out, they’re going to lose the majority of their financial potential as a business.

What should they do instead then? They’re doing some of it by showing promoted tweets at the top too. These are the most popular, relevant tweets culled from a particular set of search results. But they need to to mix the sponsored (ad) tweets in very gently. I’ve experienced so many search results with sponsored tweets at the top I’ve long since stopped looking at the “tweet at the top.”

Twitter needs to make adjustments immediately if they are to overcome the natural ability of humans to tune out, or it will kill their business model.

Will Twitter listen?

In a word: no. The management of successful businesses does not listen to outside sources, as a rule. Twitter’s great success in becoming popular and well-known is a powerful force pushing them into the kind of cloistered tunnel vision that is common in those kinds of situations.

So, what happened at the renaissance festival?

I told the upper management at the festival why what I had done worked. Their response? Build a giant castle in that location, forcing people to go into the Lion’s den—an enclosed space filled with salespeople—just to see the product. The result? Sales dropped well below $100,000. Did management understand why? No. They made their plans without me, and in spite of my explanation. But I had just done the same thing for a chain of about 50 Midwestern health food stores a few years previously. I knew the power of humans to tune out, and how powerful it could be if you could overcome it.

At the health food stores, I had more than quadrupled key sales.