What is a Promoted Trend on Twitter?

Yes, I know my reaction is late, but what the heck does a “promoted trend” tell you about the trend? Seriously, the new Twitter interface is beautiful, however, their business peeps must be stuck in the banner ages of marketing. Twitter has all the potential of offering users to get a buck by sharing/distributing sponsored content at a CPC basis. This would be profitable for both influential tweeps as it would be an interesting business model for Twitter.

Rev.share is the way to go in social media as the users provide most of the valuable content out there. On Twitter this could be put on steroids by offering segmented “paid tweet” suggestions in the right hand side of your control. Ie. tweet this and get 0.1 dollar for each click it generates.

Instead, Twitter turns to this solution… which I really don’t understand. The promoted accounts are pretty straight forward. But what the heck does it mean if a trend is promoted? That it’s not really a trend, but someone is willing to pay for it to become a trend? Or, does it mean that this will never become a trend and so we have to pay for it to get any exposure at all. There must be so much to write about 4G that is compelling enough to attract some social and viral initiative. But no. Some marketing agency or department out there has spent time and money for this to happen.

I had to investigate further in order to find out how and for what reason Twitter thinks I should buy this wicked format from them.

Twitter writes on their page about promoted tweets:

Promoted Tweets from our advertising partners are called out at the top of some Twitter.com search results pages.

Promoted Tweets are clearly labeled as “Promoted” when an advertiser is paying, but in every other respect they exist initially as regular Tweets and are organically sent to the timelines of their followers. They also retain all the functionality of a regular Tweet including replying, Retweeting, and favoriting. Promoted Tweets are displayed in search in Twitter.com and some of our ecosystem partners, and in user timelines for some users in Hootsuite.com.

Fair enough. That text makes sense. Search results should probably generate a tweet on top of the search pile that is sponsored. They’ve got to earn a buck from something. So, I can accept the promoted account and the promoted search result. But I cannot for the world understand the placement amongst the trending hashtags.

I guess this is where my logic stops making sense out of stuff. Perhaps that’s why they are millionaires and I am a poor entrepreneur. It might work. I don’t know. I simply don’t understand the reasoning behind it.

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11 thoughts on “What is a Promoted Trend on Twitter?”

  1. No can’t see the use? I’m surprised since you’re normally spot on the issue…

    It has a lot to do with brand management.
    Buying a trended topic puts it among the other current popular trends. When they emerge as one of the trends even more people notices it and starts writing about it. Therefore just by being there among the popular things you will make some people think about the topic and write about it. Building up your brand salience and arousing curiosity.

    The other part about being a part amongst the other popular trends is that your brand gets positively associated with the others. The trends are treated as a group and taken in as such, this will cause the consumer give some of it’s attention to the promoted trend since it was one of the important trending topics recently (afterwards, in most cases, the consumer won’t remember which of the trends were promoted but it will still be in their mind mixed with the others)

    • but how many people actually visit the Twitter.com front page to see the trends/promoted tweets? I’m guessing you have to respond there in order to get any promoted tweets from the brands, right?

    • @collentine – I don’t agree with you at all on this one. I don’t believe it is in the best interest of the company to buy a hashtag’s position in the trending hash tag list. Since everyone knows it is bought, it carries no value, so why would you even bother buying something that carries no value? Wouldn’t it be money better spent to focus the investment on search and try to build a linkbait around some interesting content about G4. There is LOADS of stuff to build on that would both earn them links as well as organic/natural recognition on Twitter. Perhaps use a sponsored tweet to get it out there at first and get the spark going, but not like this.

      Your last point is fair. I agree to that people are generally easily influenced. However, that only holds if you can buy an already trending hashtag and put your brand name next to it instead of buying the hashtags position. This seems to be the way the promoted tweet works today at first.

      I don’t see how the promoted hashtag could compete with the other available marketing tools in the bag fighting it out for the budget.

      • I agree that it may not be the best way to spend the money but laziness is always present in marketing. Building viral content that is spread naturally takes a lot more time to construct and think of. There is never any guarantees it will work either which means doing the easy job of buying a promoted trend might be better in some few cases.

        Quick search and I directly get a few examples of why promoted trends could be good. Getting information out quicker than a bought tweet might do. If there is a smart decision behind the search term and a true interest for it as well it could be promoted to catch attention from people not following right people and then hopefully get a natural trend on its own which would be very well invested money…

        atyanand Anirudh Atyanand
        The first promoted trend that I’m excited by. The Nexus S!
        1 hour ago

        peekay_ Karishma Patel
        Inception Blu-Ray is trending. FINALLY, a Promoted trend that I am interested in!
        3 hours ago

  2. Hashtags are seen as the most popular trends, so what company wouldn’t like to be on top of that? Even if it’s clearly artificial. Not sure if anyone’s really going to go for promoted hashtags though… It all conflicts with Twitter’s hive-mind mentality. Will be interesting to see how this conflicts.

    • I don’t think that it is money well spent. What does it communicate to the target group you’re after? Why spend the money on the advertising if you might as well spend it on producing quality content in, let’s say a blog, and get it out there organically?

  3. Hi Jasper – I don’t agree with the promoted tweets for a few reasons. First of all, it’s not a scaleable model. If five or more advertisers want to target a particular hashtag, it kills the stream. Also, there is no way to dismiss the promoted tweets. If there is a tweet that you could ignore, it might make more sense. As for the promoted trends, did you take a look at the 4G promoted trend? It’s a complete waste. There are so many people just posting random tweets tagged with 4G just because they will know that they will be noticed. Another thing is that the promoted tweet is from Verizon, but the people search suggests you follow it’s competitors – Sprint and Clear. I think it’s an attempt at monetizing that isn’t thought through well enough and isn’t sustainable. But, that’s just my two cents 🙂

    • Hey Liz, I agree with you completely on the promoted trend and I guess you write it down in fewer and more clear words.

      Then we have the promoted tweets. Google sponsored search is considered extremely scalable. This would follow the same bid for space logic. I don’t see how the space would run out cause as soon as a user doesn’t send a tweet (according to the rev.share model) then another sponsored tweet is shown for them to promote. I think it would be the best possible way for Twitter to make money right now that is in the interest of companies as well as users. Users as they can earn a buck from their promotion. Companies as they can find a way to kick start their product launches.

  4. I can’t sleep and I saw this recent post in my Google RSS ^^

    I don’t know the rev share model between Ad.ly (part of the bit.ly family) and Twitter, but they get popular Twitter users to promote products/brands. You can pay to have Snoop Dogg tweet about your brand!


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