Beginning today, Twitter will begin to place paid advertisements into the Twitter streams of users. This follows in addition to Twitter’s use of Promoted Tweets, which appears at the top of searches and is paid by the company using Twitter desiring prime and targeted placement on twitter.com.
However, the integration of advertising into a users’ Twitter stream does not require the user to be following the advertising company to see the ad-Tweet. It will be targeted, instead, and related to your interests as determined by the type of people you do follow and shared interests as determined by Twitter’s algorithm. For example, if you follow several coffee brands and other twitter users interested in coffee, you will be targeted for coffee-related ads in your Twitter stream.
The good news, for now, is that Twitter is not unleashing this feature globally to all users. A small test segment of users who read their tweets via HootSuite will be the first to see these advertisements; an estimated 175 million users will see these types of tweets initially. HootSuite will be getting a cut of the revenue. Update: Upgrading to Hootsuite Pro allows users to uncheck the box that forces HootSuite to “Show Promoted Tweets. ” Users will then no longer see these types of ads. In the free version, you cannot uncheck this option.
Eventually Twitter will be expanding the tests of these ad-based Tweets to other readers (like Tweetdeck) and Twitter.com. While the company isn’t selling advertising into a user’s twitter stream yet, they’re considering approaching the idea later this year, obviously due to the multitude of users who primarily read tweets on third party clients and effectively avoiding the Promoted Tweets.
As Twitter has banned third-party clients (like HootSuite and TweetDeck) from selling ads into the streams of their users, and there is no mention of a way to opt-out of advertising (such as paying for an upgraded service), it looks like Twitter is finally embracing their loyal and addicted market – and is now going to make a run for some serious profits.
What do you think? Has Twitter sold out? Or are we getting what we pay for?