This week, in a move that Brian Solis entitled the ‘Mad Men Moment’, Twitter introduced the latest addition to the Promoted products family.

So what prompted the dramatic headline?

Well the latest version of the promoted tweet will appear in the timeline of users that are not already following your brand.

And why is this groundbreaking?

Twitter has entered the advertising arena cautiously. It’s been sensitive to the anticipated resistance of the Twitter community, only serving up advertisements to people that are already engaged with the brand or specifically searching for a related term . Now it’s going one step further. The new promoted tweet will be targeted to users that Twitter identifies as being interested in your brand.

So what does this mean?

There’s an opportunity for brands

Research into the first promoted tweets has demonstrated their value to brands. Nearly 25% of users reported seeing a promoted tweet that was of relevance to them. 14% reported re-tweeting a promoted tweet.

With the new promoted tweet, brands will now be able to extend these benefits by reaching a wider audience and an audience that includes people not already affiliated to their brand – but possibly affiliated to their competition.

The competition is hotting up

Twitter is identifying users on the basis of their existing interests and profiles. There’s a high chance that your promoted tweet will be featured in the timeline of a tweeter who is following a similar brand. This means that brands will have to work harder to retain the loyalty and engagement of their existing followers. It also means that tweets from your competitors might appear in your followers’ timeline.

Twitter is becoming more commercial

The extension of promoted tweets marks a new step in the evolution of Twitter. Although this is yet to roll out in the UK, the trend is towards more opportunities for brands to proactively engage with consumers rather than wait for consumers to demonstrate an interest in an area or brand.

It’s a great opportunity for brands, but not without its challenges. Barely distinguishable from regular tweets and restricted to the same format criteria, the content will have to be compelling to get cut through. And, whilst the anticipated backlash against Twitter advertising is yet to materialise, we’ll be watching how the Twitter community responds as advertisements increasingly feature in their Twitter streams.

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