Twitter Tests Promoted Tweets in HootSuite Timeline

Twitter has unveiled its next step in a three-part plan to roll out the promoted tweets it announced in April – inserting them into user’s timelines. Twitter will be integrating promoted tweets into certain users’ timelines on HootSuite, testing the feature before presumably rolling it out on Twitter.com and other platforms.

You might remember some of the first promoted tweets from Disney/Pixar generating buzz about Toy Story 3 when the feature was first announced. These tweets appeared in search results on Twitter.com, and were generally well-received by the community.

Twitter then initiated the second phase of its promoted tweet plan, displaying promoted tweets in their partners’ search pages.

Now, users will see promoted tweets in their timelines while on HootSuite. As announced on the Twitter blog, this is the third and final stage of the promoted tweets plan – but it is still in its early testing phase.

Not all users will see the tweets, nor will all promoted tweets be the same for all users. Twitter is trying to appease both advertisers and users with this move, as they slowly roll out the timeline promoted tweets and modify them based on user feedback.

Twitter is hoping that these tweets retain their organic feel, as they are part of the natural timeline and will only be integrated into users’ timelines when they are relevant based on a users’ public list of whom they follow. Also, Twitter says it will measure the success of promoted tweets based on user engagement. If certain tweets fail to resonate with users, Twitter will remove them from the timeline.

This move signals the final stage in a robust advertising plan from Twitter. By integrating promoted tweets into users’ timelines based on who they follow and other Twitter activity, advertisers will have access to a much wider and more targeted audience. Coupled with promoted tweets being visible in search results on Twitter.com and third-party sites, and you’ve got potential for a non-intrusive advertising model for the famously advertising-resistant social network.

Of course, there are several possible missteps that Twitter could take when rolling out this new feature. Search results are one thing, but a users’ timeline is the mainstay of Twitter – it is the home page, the wall, the central place for activity to occur. If this becomes clogged with spammy or irrelevant promoted tweets, you can bet there will be a user revolt.

Judging from the way that Twitter has generally approached advertising, however, it is more likely that this will be a cautious, and inconspicuous, toe-in-the-water move before anything major happens.

Have you seen any promoted tweets in your HootSuite timeline yet?

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