First came Promoted Tweets, in which companies could pay to promote their brand in the news feed of Twitter account holders. Now Twitter has taken their experimentation with third party advertising up a notch with the introduction of Promoted Accounts.
Here’s how it works: A Twitter account holder may be presented with a suggestion to follow the profile of a paying advertiser via the “Who to Follow” feature, provided that they are already publicly following several non-paying profiles that are related to the advertised one.
Twitter had this to say about Promoted Accounts in their official blog on Monday:
“Promoted Accounts are suggested based on a user’s public list of whom they follow. When an advertiser promotes an account, Twitter’s algorithm looks at that account’s followers and determines other accounts that those users tend to follow. If a user follows some of those accounts, but not the advertiser’s account, then Twitter may recommend the advertiser’s Promoted Account to that user.”
Sounds good in theory, but since Twitter’s algorithm already suggests profiles for an account user to follow based on the profiles that the user currently follows – why are Promoted Accounts even necessary?
The obvious answer is profit. Though Twitter has yet to confirm or deny it, logic suggests that Promoted Profiles will get preference over regular profiles that aren’t making Twitter any cash. Certainly, that would be the incentive for companies prepared to pay for advertising space on Twitter.
Another important development for advertisers is the opening up of Promoted Products to a select group of companies partnered with Twitter. This allows Twitter clients such as TweetDeck to promote their own Tweets and Trends via the Twitter platform, and share in the resulting revenue.
These latest additions to the Twitter model are being tested on only a small percentage of users. Their surivival and eventual proliferation will depend largely on finding the balance between revenue from Twitter’s advertisers, and acceptance from its users.