It was possibly just a matter of time, but it’s now a reality: Twitter is no longer about leading and following. Twitter announced recently that promoted tweets, or tweets paid for by advertisers, will soon be appearing in users’ news feeds.
The tweets involved will not be purely about advertising, the social media company said, but will start their life as regular tweets. Twitter users that want to get a little more attention for their posts will be able to pay to have their tweets appear in the news stream, or ‘home’ timeline, for relevant users. Promoted posts will also deviate from the normal operation of Twitter posts in that they will appear to users who haven’t followed that particular account.
Twitter has been using promoted posts since April last year, with advertisers appearing for Twitter searches, but this moves marks a more intrusive step. Paid-for tweets will now be appearing within search pages, the home timelines of users, at the top of promoted trends, and in official Twitter and third-party Twitter clients such as those used on mobiles.
The average Twitter user may not feel the affects of this move for quite some time. Those using Twitter as part of a search engine optimisation campaign, however, are certain to be made a little nervous by the move. When Twitter attention can be purchased, site owners who rely on the social media company for free SEO and marketing are naturally going to be at a disadvantage. The development of promoted tweets over the next few months is certain to be interesting.