Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sponsored Tweets - Interruptive Advertising

Izea recently launched Sponsored Tweets, an advertising platform for Twitter. The Sponsored Tweet service is similar to their blog advertising service, Pay per Post.

Sponsored Tweets is currently in "double secret beta", but is allowing Twits to sign up for the service. The Sponsored Tweets service provides several option to handle how you want to display advertising in your Twitter stream.

First, they allow you to choose between "I'll write" or "Advertiser writes" ad unit. You have to be leary about letting the advertiser write your Tweets. People follow you to hear your thoughts, not those of a third-party advertiser. It also looks like they will provide you the opportunity to review the sponsored tweet before pushing it out into your Twitter stream.

Secondly, the Sponsored Tweet service allows you to select a related category for your account. I am assuming this will help match up advertisers with Twits. They provided nine categories: Business/Finance, Entertainment, Family, Food, General, Health, Marketing, Technology and Travel.

In addition to selecting a relevant category, the service allows you to include 10 keywords to tag your account with. Again, it looks as if this will help advertiser match up with Twits.

The service provides two methods of payment, Charge Per Tweet or Charge Per Click. The Charge Per Tweet is an amount that you will make for each and every tweet. The Charge Per Click is the minimum you will be paid on a per click basis. There is an formula being used to determine the Charge Per Tweet and Charge Per Click. These payouts can differ great by the number of Twitter followers the account has. I tested it with a couple of accounts which had around 150 followers, 4,000 followers and one with 10,000 followers. The 150 follower account had a $1.00 Charge Per Tweet and a $0.15 Charge Per Click. The 4,000 follower account a $10 Charge Per Tweet and the 10,000 follower account had a $28 Charge Per Tweet. I don't have the Charge Per Click on the last two, but those accounts were significantly higher then $0.15.

The last setting, "My Content Rating" allows you to select whether your Twitter account is G-rated, NC-17 rated or R rated. I am assuming that R rated accounts were meant for porn related accounts (when Twitter gets to that point).

Izea is all about disclosure, as they should be. They are recommending to append #spon to the tweet to signal that the tweet is sponsored. While this is necessary, the majority of Twits are unfamiliar with what a hashtag is. So there is a gap in educating the casual Twit on what the #spon tag really means. A positive thing for a standard hashtag for these sponsored tweets is that scripts can be created to filter such ads out of your Twitter stream. We saw this when the Twitter advertising platform Magpie launched last year. One developer created a greasemonkey Ad Blocking Script.

There are some concerns I have in regards to Sponsored Tweets. The first one is what controls are there for how often a Twit posts an advertisement. I am going to see 3,5,25 ads being pushed into my Twitter stream from a single account. Multiple this by the 25 or even 100 accounts that I am currently following. This could get really annoying and clutter up my Twitter stream pretty quickly.

Not real sold on the Per Tweet Charge. As any seasoned "Twitter Marketer" knows that you can buy followers for pennies. So just because I have 10,000 "bought" followers, doesn't justify that I should get paid more if I had 500 home grown active and engaged followers. So as an advertiser I would be opposed to a Per Tweet Charge.

As a marketer I do believe that all advertising platforms should be tested for ROI. As a consumer I am not thrilled about the service.


  1. Hey Brent, you should take a look at also- we use four UserRanks to look beyond followers, which as you say, can be gamed- marketers can bid according to Twitterers' engagement, viral potential, etc. We use the #ROI hashtag for disclosure, but we're leaning toward #paid based on conversations I've had with Brian Solis and Chris Brogan. Our system will also be sending out unpaid non-profit tweets and PR tweets... anyhow, curious to see what you think of our service compared to IZEA's. Thanks!

  2. I never liked the idea of making money from tweets, but Sponsored tweet is one of few programs which I actually liked...
    Probably control over ad tweets is something which I always wanted..and since its been recommended by some big players..I don't mind trying it out...