Why Twitter Loves Sponsored Tweets

The Super Bowl was a wild success for advertisers who knew how to leverage Twitter and other social networks, but many advertisers apparently still just don’t get it.

Twitter knows this, yet it doesn’t focus on the hard sell by aggressively advertising. Why? It doesn’t have to.

Twitter has its own brand ambassadors proving Twitter’s value every day. And there’s one VERY smart way Twitter has created a win-win scenario that is the stuff magnificent marketing campaigns are made of: sponsored tweets.

There was a big hubub a little while back when the AP sent out sponsored tweets from Samsung during CES.

What’s a sponsored tweet? It’s when companies pay individual Twitterers to promote their content in their Twitter stream to followers. This happens a lot behind the scenes, particularly with celebrities, but those concerned with transparency (like the AP) tag these tweets as “sponsored” so anyone reading them understands they’re viewing sponsored content.

Twitter allows folks to do this, heck they’ll even let you sell ad space on your Twitter background – and probably always will, never taking a cut, even though sending sponsored tweets HAS to be pretty darn lucrative. Here’s why:

The “sponsored tweet” phenomenon benefits everyone right now (except followers, of course), so why would Twitter change it? The sponsor is happy its tweet got sent out to a bunch of followers, the person sending the tweet is happy because he/she got paid, and Twitter is happy because sponsors are using Twitter to reach people.

But there’s more.

They’re smart at Twitter, they know it’s only a matter of time before these “sponsors” learn more about the Twittersphere and turn to Twitter’s promoted products instead – or in addition to – sponsored tweets.

Twitter knows that savvy advertisers will eventually realize (via sponsored tweets) how valuable Twitter can be – and that their dollars are better spent on Twitter’s promoted products. Honestly – who can target Twitter users better than Twitter? And unlike sponsored tweets that move quickly through followers’ streams, promoted tweets stay at the top of the page (for a price).

And anyway, outside of Twitter offering a superior option (with promoted products), they’re smart enough to steer clear of sponsored tweets. Users are accepting the “promoted” check next to trends, people and tweets on Twitter – but we’re not used to seeing an ad come at us out of nowhere, midstream. People aren’t loving the sponsored tweets. Not yet, at least.

So Twitter is sitting pretty with these sponsored tweets and already receiving its pound of flesh, really – and then some.

What do you think of sponsored tweets?

(Girl with heart image from Shutterstock)

@MaryCLong maryclong@digitalmediaghost.com Mary C. Long is Chief Ghost at Digital Media Ghost. She writes about everything online and is published widely, with a focus on privacy concerns, specifically social sabotage.