Twitter has begun testing promoted tweets on users of web-based social media client Hootsuite.
Promoted tweets from companies such as Starbucks and Virgin are now appearing in Twitter streams even if you don’t follow those companies. Like Facebook, the advertised content is targeted based on the kinds of people and products users already follow. So, if you’re a caffeine fan and follow several coffee and energy drink Twitter accounts, you’re more likely to get promoted content from companies like Red Bull or Starbucks
The move follows several months of testing sponsored search terms in the trending topics section.
As a Hootsuite user, I’ve seen the promoted content in action. Promoted tweets obviously depend on how many people you follow, but in my Twitter stream they appear once or twice an hour, and they’re clearly marked as a promoted tweet. It’s mildly irritating to see tweets appear from USA-based companies, but there is (currently) an option in the general settings of Hootsuite to turn these test tweets off.
It’ll be interesting to see how the tweeting public will react to these promoted tweets. Will they accept the ads in the same way they have on Facebook, or will users be driven away by the uninvited content? CEO Dick Costolo stated at the start of year, “Is it great in search and horrible in the timeline? We are going to test and test and test,” which indicated that this test run might not lead to a full implementation.