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Twitter launches Promoted Trends for advertisers

17 Jun

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.

Twitter tip: Count your characters, think about it, then count again.

4 Jun

Sure, go ahead, laugh. Writing what’s essentially a status message  seems like it would be the easiest thing in the world. But as anyone who writes headlines will tell you, it can be very challenging if you’re trying to convey information and meaning within a very small space. And Twitter, with its 140-character limit, is one of the smallest spaces around.

Count Floyd

You will be so dope at counting characters, they will call you Count Floyd.

If you’re drafting a Tweet that’s important to you — an announcement, for example — you’ll want to take into account some factors that can really put the squeeze on your prose.

Spaces count
Remember that the spaces in your message count as characters.

Retweets (may) count
Do you want others to retweet you? Consider cutting your Tweet by 16 characters to allow for an @ sign and a username. (The retweet button on Twitter creates a message that doesn’t shoehorn the original Twitterer’s username into the message, but not everyone likes to use that feature.)

Links count
Will your Tweet contain a link? Check the length of the URLs that the service you’re using creates (,, Posterous, Tumblr, YouTube, etc.) and make room in your message for it. If you’re drafting a Tweet before whatever you’re linking to exists, leave a placeholder for the URL — ideally one of equal length.

A little Birdhouse in your soul
If you use an iPod Touch or iPhone, you might want to check out a Tweet-drafting app called Birdhouse. I haven’t yet used it myself, but I have it on good authority that it’s a handy way to draft, review, revise, rate, save, backup, publish and unpublish Tweets.

Of course, counting characters is only the beginning. There’s also the small matter of writing well in such a confined space. That’s another post.

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