Guide to Twitter Advertising: Promoted Tweets 101

Twitter has rolled out the third phase of its Promoted Products advertising plan as it strives to translate the more than 160 million Twitter users into dollars for businesses. There’s a lot of potential for profit here, for both Twitter and its partners, and marketers are watching the space with interest.

We here at AllTwitter have compiled a guide to Twitter advertising, so you can get ahead of the curve when it comes to Promoted Products and making money on Twitter. Today, we take an in-depth look at Promoted Tweets, the first and most popular of Twitter’s Promoted Products suite.

What are Promoted Products?

Twitter’s Promoted Products are a suite of advertising vehicles that can be harnessed to tap into its user base. Twitter has been loathe to to call them “ads” – because they are organically part of the Twitter ecosystem.

What Are Promoted Tweets?

Promoted Tweets were the first Promoted Product released back in April. In the first phase, Promoted Tweets would appear only at, and only when a user did a search.

Twitter began rolling out Promoted Tweets slowly – initially with just about 30 advertising partners, including Coca-Cola Co., Virgin America and Starbucks Corp. doing a test-run.

Since April, Twitter has come out and said that nearly 80% of advertisers who tried Promoted Tweets or Trends came back to purchase more, indicating a successful first round.

Advertisers got some good news in early November when it was announced that Promoted Tweets would be visible in user timelines. Initially available only on third-party platform HootSuite, these in-timeline Promoted Tweets would be relevant to the user and extremely targeted.

Promoted Tweets appear just like other Tweets in a user’s timeline, but they have a “Promoted” button in yellow just below the Tweet. We discussed how the design and placement of Promoted Tweets might be well-received by the user earlier this week.

Cost and Effectiveness

It has been reported that Promoted Tweets cost upwards of $100,000. Twitter itself gives no hard numbers, but indicates that Promoted Tweets sell based on impressions. However, many advertisers still see Promoted Tweets as experimental, and it’s unclear how many beyond the initial test group have signed on for their own Twitter advertising.

No numbers have been revealed about the financials of the companies that have purchased Promoted Tweets, but Twitter’s COO Dick Costolo is reported to have said that Promoted Tweets receive about 5% interaction rate, while regular Tweets receive approximately 1%.

Promoted Tweets are targeted towards specific users based on the public list of who they follow and other factors. This means that Promoted Tweets will be put in front of users who show an affinity for its subject – effectively targeting your market for you.

Advertisers would be happy to note that Promoted Tweets are also visible Google’s real-time search.

What’s Holding it Back?

The number-one complaint from advertisers around the web is that Promoted Tweets don’t come with enough analytics. It’s tough to gage just how effective a Promoted Tweet is, and whether it is financially viable, without the proper metrics.

Promoted Tweets are still in the experimental phase, but it looks like they will be expanding to TweetDeck and in the coming months.