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Twitter’s monetization model has always been a closely scrutinized affair and with the microblogging service yet to show revenues commensurate with its user growth, the company had recently announced a change of guard with COO Dick Costolo taking over as the CEO of Twitter.
Close on the heels of the announcement, Twitter has also launched a new monetizable feature – Promoted Accounts. Based on the long-tested Promoted Trends feature, the new feature will promote the advertisers’ Twitter account to targeted users who may be interested in the advertisers’ offering. Carolyn from Twitter writes on the blog,
“When an advertiser promotes an account, Twitter’s algorithm looks at that account’s followers and determines other accounts that those users tend to follow. If a user follows some of those accounts, but not the advertiser’s account, then Twitter may recommend the advertiser’s Promoted Account to that user. For example, a lot of people who follow several gaming-related accounts also follow @xbox. If someone follows gaming-related accounts, but not @xbox, Twitter may recommend @xbox to that person.”
That sounds pretty weak to me. A promoted account is only shown to users who are already following several related accounts. In that case, wouldn’t the advertiser’s account be offered as a suggestion to the user in any case? Will that mean that the advertiser will be paying for something that they can get done for free anyway? An alternative would be to target users by geography or age group (which the Twitter database does not have at present) and let advertisers reach out to those users who they may not be able to target otherwise.
Having said that, this is still in testing phase and it will be interesting to see how the functionality pans out moving forward.