Twitter Marketing 2.0

Yesterday the micro-blogging site Twitter announced several significant changes to its advertising platform. They can be seen as both positive and negative, especially from the perspective of small business interests.

Twitter opened itself up to advertising in April 2010, permitting rich media banners as well as so-called promoted tweets. These are the ads that appear on search results pages. Overall, clients are pleased with this format and users don’t appear to be put off by commercialization efforts.

The company recently revamped the site, which allowed a worm to ease its way in and hack some user accounts. There was a method to the madness, as the redesign paved the way for additional alterations in their monetization strategy. They’ve even provided a business 101 summation of their policies.

The latest feature enables marketers to boost their followers by becoming a promoted account. Twitter already suggests that users follow others with similar interests on the site; now advertisers will be able to pay on a cost per click basis in order to be included in these listings. Chances are, larger corporations are going to dominate this arena at the expense of mom and pop shops. Fortunately, Twitter plans on unveiling a self-service tool, probably similar to Google’s AdWords, specifically for small businesses. But that won’t go live until sometime next year.

As Twitter embraces its future, it also says goodbye to the past: the short lived @earlybird account will be no more. Companies are still permitted to offer coupons on their private accounts, of course, so there’s no need to panic. The service only generated a little over 230,000 followers, which represents a small percentage of its 160 million total users.

These modifications are probably going to impact the advertising industry in a big way. Twitter’s decisions make it more useful than Facebook from a marketing standpoint. Facebook permits businesses to have accounts, but they are isolated from the wider community in many respects. For instance, companies cannot communicate directly with other users on their profile pages through the infamous “friending” process, putting small business owners in particular at a tremendous disadvantage. Twitter lets businesses participate in the site’s core functions, which makes it much easier to interact with clients and prospective customers. Way to go Twitter!

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