Promoted Trends Look Like a Hit on Twitter; Promoted Tweets, Not So Much

Last Updated Feb 11, 2011 4:26 PM EST

Nothing speaks better of Twitter's ad platforms than the company's apparent decision to increase rates for its "promoted trends" ad unit to a range of $100,000 to $120,000 per day, per AllThingsD. That's a huge increase from the $70,000 to $80,000 the site had been charging.

Advertisers can buy a rising trend on Twitter (today's is #LoveShout, for AT&T, pictured as it appears on Tweetdeck at right), which not only gives the advertiser placement near the other trending topics, like, say, "Congrats Egypt," but also gives the trend a higher capacity to go viral itself because of their placement. When I checked earlier today, #LoveShout seemed to be doing major business.

Trends are in, tweets are out
But the price increase also says something else interesting: Namely, that the ad unit Twitter promoted most heavily when it got serious about ad models last year may not be doing as well. That unit, "promoted tweets," features paid tweets from advertisers in a Google-like model. If a user searches for something on Twitter, and an advertiser has bought that search, the tweet will show up among the search results. Depending on how users respond to them, they can also go viral like any other tweet.

Assuming this is the case -- a Twitter spokesperson says the company isn't commenting about any of this -- than it shows how much there still isto learn about advertising on Twitter. Sometimes units perform differently in practice than they do in theory. Back when these two ad units launched, promoted trends was almost an afterthought. Twitter, and the rest of the ad world, seemed very focused on promoted tweets.

It feels a little strange to be talking about the nitty-gritty of Twitter's business model on the same day that it, and other social platforms, helped overthrow a dictator, but it also speaks to the fact that whatever people, and advertisers use them for, platforms like Twitter and Facebook are media companies -- just not ones like the world has ever seen.

So long, farewell
I should note that this is my last post for BNET, though certainly not the last you'll hear from me. I discovered soon after I began my first blog, Adweek's AdFreak, back in 2004, that blogging quickly becomes a reflex action, almost like breathing. I'm still writing about social media on a weekly basis here, and playing around again with my personal blog, Adverganza, over here.

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