Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Sponsored tweets - what does this really mean for PR?

Tac Anderson just sent this around to everyone at Waggener Edstrom. I thought I'd share it here (mainly because he sums things up so well - so I don't have to).


From: Tac Anderson
Date: Tue, Apr 13, 2010 20:12
Subject: Sponsored Tweet a PR Blessing?

Unless you’ve been hiding under a twock (sorry couldn’t resist) this morning you have heard that Twitter has finally caved to the advertising business model with the introduction of the Sponsored Tweet.

The NYT broke the news and you can also find additional commentary from AdAge, Owyang, Battelle and Forrester who were all pre-briefed on the news.

What is it?
The sponsored Tweet only shows up in search (but may eventually branch out from there). It is not a traditional key word search ad, it is an actual tweet. The sponsored tweet will appear on top of the search stream and be clearly marked as an advertisement. The ad will stay on top of the stream as long as it maintains “Resonance.”

Much like key word search buys which must maintain a certain level of click through performance, Sponsored Tweets must maintain some level of resonance which includes RT’s, clicks, replies and other algorithmic, secret sauce ingredients from Twitter. It also means you have to be on Twitter to post a sponsored tweet (it’s unclear if you will be able to sponsor someone else’s tweet).

PR Use Case
This will be especially powerful as a PR tool in times of crisis. Imagine if during the T-Mobile/Danger outage if we could have placed a sponsored tweet at the top of that trending topic pointing people to the appropriate place for more information.

Final Thoughts
Twitter states that this is a new thing and that’ll be adjusting things as this roles out. We advice to approach cautiously but in times of crisis this seems like a great tool for crisis PR, much like keyword search ads have been in the past.