Well, it was only a matter of time before Twitter found a way to incorporate advertisements into its social networking structure.

Today is the apparent unveiling of its advertising plan, which Twitter calls “Promoted Tweets” (although after searching for 30 minutes and not being able to find an ad I promptly gave up).  With Promoted Tweets, Twitter plans on incorporating advertisements into the Twitter live stream that relate to the personal search choices of its users.  The promoted Tweet advertising plan, however, differs from that of Google, Yahoo, and even Facebook, which all place their advertisements on the right side of their web page.  Unlike other social networking sites, Twitter only plans to display one ad at a time and plans to place the individual ads, which resemble normal Tweets, above the search results Twitter feed.

Advertisers will initially have to purchase key words that allow their ads to be displayed at the top of the Twitter feed when users use that key word in their searches.  Twitter is also in the process of developing a performance model called ‘resonance’ to determine pricing for its Promoted Tweets.  Similar to the pay per click model, Twitter’s resonance model will attempt to judge the impact of a particular ad by measuring the amount of times the ad is passed around, marked as a favorite, or how often users click the posted links on the advertisement, in order to determine price for ads.  The more demand and popularity for an ad, the longer it will stay around.

I was skeptical at first about Twitter’s Promoted Tweet’s plan, and not able to recognize the difference between a Starbucks Promoted Tweet and the normal tweets Starbucks puts out daily to promote its brand and products.  Why would a brand pay for something that it is already doing for free?  However, it is important to recognize the fluidity of Twitter.  Twitter is constantly being updated by its users, and as a result individual Tweets do not remain in one place for long.  The Promoted Tweet plan allows advertisers to display a message without fear of it being engulfed in the constantly updated stream of Tweets.  While Twitter’s advertising strategy is certainly unique, it is up to Twitter to convince advertisers, who will still have access to the promotional capabilities of a Twitter account free of charge, that its Promoted Tweets plan is worth the investment.