After months of speculation, Twitter has finally announced they will insert advertising in users' streams. Now, select users will see advertisements posed as a tweet as they appear in the stream itself, not as a promoted or sponsored tweet as is already seen on Twitter. In other words, these ads will be aligned closer with regular tweets, blending more into the Twitter experience.
No surprises here.
For now, ads will only be seen by users of Hootsuite, the popular third-party Twitter client. My guess here - and this is only a guess - is that Twitter hopes Hootsuite users are naturally more interactive that the average Twitter user; therefore creating an environment in which advertisements will perform well enough to provide early positive returns. Soon enough, however, everyone using Twitter will see the ads.
Two things will be interesting to watch as ads unfold on Twitter.
First, is how these ads perform. This, in light of a recent study by Sysomos of 1.2 billion tweets found that 71 percent of them get zero response.
Second, is how Twitter users react. Whenever "advertising" and "social media" are mentioned in the same sentence, it's usually followed by some discussion about users feeling "violated," revolting and leaving the site en masse. I doubt this will be the case. Mostly, because Twitter is loaded with marketers as it stands (not the type of people who are offended by well-placed ads) and also because Twitter is an Internet-savvy audience who are quite accustomed to online advertising.
Early advertisers are said to be Starbucks, Red Bull and, apparently, Box.net. Below you will see an example of a promoted tweet, found in our very own "Home Feed" from our Hootsuite account. It does not appear in our Twitter feed at Twitter.com.