Last night, Twitter began testing an extension of its Promoted Tweets platform: Promoted Trends.
Twitter’s Trending Topics section in the sidebar has traditionally reflected the most-talked-about topics on Twitter. With Promoted Trends, Twitter’s advertising partners can sponsor currently-trending topics that have not made their way onto the Trending Topics list. A Promoted Trend will initially appear at the bottom of the Trending Topics list on Twitter and will be marked “Promoted.” As conversations about the topic increase, Promoted Trends may move up the list.
When users click on Promoted Trends, they can follow Twitter conversations on that topic, with a persistent Promoted Tweet from the advertiser appearing at the top of the search results page.
What determines whether Promoted Trends move up (and presumably down) the list is not yet clear. Peter Kafka at All Things Digital reports hearing from advertisers that the service may charge “tens of thousands of dollars” a day for exclusive placement rights.
I expect some controversy over this: as GigaOm’s Mathew Ingram points out, a trend that only gets onto the list because someone paid Twitter is not really a trend. That being said, I think the idea of enabling companies to highlight conversations that are relevant to their business is a good one.