Social media platforms have always encountered some resistance by users when they implement advertising, but as users we understand that ‘free’ tools cannot remain ‘free’ forever.
Now usually, we, the users, can get onboard with advertising when it follows two rules (1) the advertising is discreet and (2) we are given full disclosure i.e. we know it’s an advertisement.
Google has Google Ads running along the right-hand margin of search results, and in a different coloured box at the top of the search results, clearly labeled ‘sponsored link’.
Facebook introduced ads in a similar fashion with them displaying along the right-hand margin of the page as well.
Twitter however, has broached advertising a little differently, with ad-sponsored Tweets.
There has been a reasonable amount of controversy surrounding this since 3rd party companies such as Ad.ly started and now Twitter has its own official advertising using ‘promoted’ tweets. There has been a lot of talk about how ads in a Tweeter’s stream could dilute their authority and there has been many a discussion surrounding both this, and the idea that a user, with enough followers, could monetize their Twitter stream.
However, my concern is that ads in Twitter don’t always look like ads. Unlike other platforms, ads here are integrated into my information stream, and although some are clearly labeled ‘promoted’ and some have the word ‘ad’ in the tweet, it still seems to me that it would be easy to miss, at least to begin with.
Ad.ly advertises itself as a Celebrity Micro Endorsement Platform and has over 5,000 celebrities and 150 brands on its books.
And while some of the ads seem to be marked ‘ad’
Some are harder to spot
It seems to me that advertising on Twitter is currently a little murkier than elsewhere, and perhaps is too discreet. The big problem is that these promoted tweets are being pushed into our stream along with everything else, not off to one margin, and so while some companies have seen success by using ‘promoted’ tweets, I wonder how scalable these successes are? Promoted tweets are still pretty new, and so the current benefits are probably not going to last forever, and it will be the early adopters who reap the rewards.
Once everyone jumps on the bandwagon will the click through rate remain as high? Will we get suspicious of those we follow thinking everything they tweet might be an ad? Or might we be so overloaded by ads in our twitter feed that we leave Twitter altogether?
What do you think? Do you mind seeing celebrity endorsed tweets? Have you used promoted tweets?