If Twitter wants to more than double its revenues this year to $100 million, it’s going to have to do a better job of inspiring advertisers that they should pay for a service everyone else regards as free. MediaMemo’s Peter Kafka has Twitter’s lesson plan, which is in the form of a roughly 40-minute “confidential video” on YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG). The video is largely devoted to touting Twitter’s “Promoted Tweets,” which hasn’t exactly caught on since its April 2010 debut. But as the voice on the video explains, that’s about to change.
Last November, Twitter began testing the insertion of Promoted Tweets in users’ timelines, after restricting the sponsored messages to the streams of users of popular Twitter client HootSuite. (Incidentally, Twitter had been loathe to identify Promoted Tweets as ads, but at least in the video, it’s giving up on that obfuscation).
Perhaps for those reasons, advertisers have largely regarded paying for sponsored messages through Twitter was an experiment. Aside from the ability of having Promoted Tweets reach its growing audience, Twitter is also stressing the intrinsic value of the sponsorship, claiming marketers would see an “engagement rate” of 1 percent to 3 percent. In return for decent engagement, Twitter does have some demands, according to Kafka’s unidentified source: advertisers must commit a minimum of $5,000 worth of inventory to gain access to the Twitter’s beta tests.
Twitter’s ad tutorial also offers some reassurance to marketers still wary of the rough and unpredictable environment of the Twitterverse. The basic advice is that you will likely be pilloried and mocked by some Twitter users, but the haters are only a marginal percentage of Twitter users.