It had to happen. Twitter had to finally come up with some kind of plan for generating cash, beyond the payments they get for feeding live information into search engines. With all that traffic and real-time debate, there had to be a business model in there somewhere.
And now they think they have found it, by allowing companies to place sponsored tweets in the system.
The big advantage for the brand-owners is that when users search for your product or service, if your are sponsoring promoted tweets these will come out right at the top of the search. Here is an example from just now. I punched Starbucks into Twitter to see what comes out, and right there at the top is a sponsored tweet offering free coffee at Starbucks branches.
That seems like an advantage, especially if the system works as Twitter proposes and models itself on the Google Adwords system… so these tweets could show up if I am searching for coffee, not just Starbucks.
However, I haven’t seen many brands using the system yet. Perhaps it is early days, but I sat at my keyboard punching in as many household brands as I could think of: Apple, Nokia, Adidas, Nike… and so on. I only found the Starbucks example, and that was because I had seen it mentioned on the original news where Twitter had announced the sponsored tweet service.
So it’s not like everyone is rushing to be there, but I expect it will happen. In B2B terms it’s less important initially, though people may start bidding for terms around the services they offer, but expect a brand near you to be serving sponsored tweets within weeks.