Twitter unveils monetization plans

Twitter has unveiled its very-long-awaited plans to start making money, by, er, bunging ads on the site.

The company says its Promoted Tweets are a ‘non-traditional’ approach to monetization, though it’s hard to see exactly how.

“You will start to see Tweets promoted by our partner advertisers called out at the top of some search results pages,” says founder Biz Stone on the company blog.

Twitter is clearly very concerned to make sure it doesn’t irritate its users too much.

“We strongly believe that Promoted Tweets should be useful to you. We’ll attempt to measure whether the Tweets resonate with users and stop showing Promoted Tweets that don’t resonate,” promises Stone.

In other words, if people don’t reply, retweet or favorite a Promoted Tweet, it gets the chop (the advertiser won’t have to pay).

Pomoted Tweets will be labeled as such, and there’ll only be one per search results page. It means that anybody searching on, say, ‘Starbucks’ will get the corporate message at the top of the search results, even if it’s an older tweet than, say, a bunch of messages from people planning to meet for a coffee.

It’s signed up a bunch of advertisers including Best Buy, Bravo, Red Bull, Sony Pictures, Starbucks, and Virgin America. Initially, advertisers will pay on the basis of page views, although Twitter says it hopes to work out something a little more sophisticated later on.

The next step says Stone, will be to allow Promoted Tweets to be shown by Twitter clients and other partners. The company will also start displaying relevant Promoted Tweets in your timelines “in a way that is useful to you”, it says.