Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter
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Earlier this week, Twitter announced and deployed its new advertising model based on Promoted Tweets in search results on

Biz Stone, Twitter’s CEO and founder, is obviously being very careful about commercializing Twitter. As he states:

Stubborn insistence on a slow and thoughtful approach to monetization—one which puts users first, amplifies existing value, and generates profit has frustrated some Twitter watchers. Believe me, when your name is Biz and you’re a co-founder of Twitter, it also means putting yourself at the mercy of folks like Stephen Colbert who hit home runs with lines like, “So, I assume that ‘Biz’ in ‘Biz Stone’ does not stand for ‘Business Model’.”

Twitter’s new advertising model reflects this slow and thoughtful approach. Twitter extends well beyond through its APIs and services like TweetDeck, Brizzly, and Seesmic, among others. Also, user’s own streams are more important to them than search results on Twitter. So, putting sponsored tweets on search results on is quite conservative.

John Battelle seems to think that Promoted Tweets will also be appearing in user’s Twitter streams, but I can’t see any evidence of this. It would make sense as a next step, but would also introduce something new to Twitter — tweets from someone you didn’t want to follow.

Twitter is relying on “resonance,” which is their buzzword for quality. It is based on nine dimensions, as Dick Costolo described it:

Twitter will measure what it calls resonance, which takes into account nine factors, including the number of people who saw the post, the number of people who replied to it or passed it on to their followers, and the number of people who clicked on links. If a post does not reach a certain resonance score, Twitter will no longer show it as a promoted post. That means that the company will not have to pay for it, and users will not see ads they do not find useful, Mr. Costolo said.

Ultimately, Twitter needs to survive. While I initially thought a white-label business-to-business offering would be Twitter’s first commercial move, this new ad search  model won’t be their last.

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Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson is the CEO of RedLink and RedLink Network, a past-President of SSP, and the founder of the Scholarly Kitchen. He has worked as Publisher at AAAS/Science, CEO/Publisher of JBJS, Inc., a publishing executive at the Massachusetts Medical Society, Publishing Director of the New England Journal of Medicine, and Director of Medical Journals at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Opinions on social media or blogs are his own.


4 Thoughts on "Twitter’s New Advertising Depends on Search, “Resonance,” and Performance"

I wonder how they will differentiate the paid for tweets? My guess is an icon – a dollar sign where the re-tweet icon goes.

But this could be very good, so long as Twitter controls use effectively. I wouldn’t mind seeing announcement of a flash sale at a store when I am searching for related topics, in fact it would add something good to the user experience. But I certainly wouldn’t want the same marketing statement for some blue chip popping up every time I am searching for related news.

I should have included a graphic. The promoted tweets have a bit of highlighted text at the bottom (yellow background) identifying it as a promoted tweet.

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