Promoted Tweets

So a big story this last week was the news that Twitter is going to finally have ads.  But the ads are a lot different than anyone expected.  Instead of ads on the side like Facebook or even GoogleTwitter is going to have promoted ads.  These advertisements will come in the form of tweets, so users can retweet them, comment on them, etc.  But what does this mean to the world of Twitter?

PC Magazine had a very insightful article explaining how the whole process will work.  Basically, when someone searches for a particular item, a promotional tweet will come up first on the search list.  Chief Operating Officer Dick Costolo used a perfect example of when this could be useful to both companies and users.  Apparently, people were complaining on Twitter that their iPad battery was not charging.  “iPad battery” soon became a trending topic but clearly not for a good reason.  Best Buy recognized this problem and tweeted a solution to this problem, but the people who had already tweeted about it did not see Best Buy’s reponse.  However, if Best Buy had posted a promotional tweet, users who searched for this problem to see what other people were saying could have seen the solution at the top of their search list.  Customers and Best Buy (and even Steve Jobs if you think about it) would benefit from the use of the promotional tweet.

So what are the first companies we will see on Promoted Tweets?  Best BuyBravoRed BullSony PicturesStarbucks, and Virgin America.  Interesting variety and choice in my opinion.  I would think some of the other brands that have a bigger presence on Twitter would be included in the mix, but then again this is a trial run for Twitter.

The interested part of promoted tweets is that Twitter is not really seeing it as the advertisement I just described.  Basically if users do not retweet it, comment on it, favorite it, etc., the Promoted Tweet will disappear.  Twitter wants to continue to be a user-friendly service and keep its organic platform.

MediaPost Publications brings up a good point about Twitter.  What types of ads will people really want to retweet and favorite?  They are not going to retweet regular messages about the company.  People will not care to retweet about something that does not benefit the general public.  They will only want to retweet about sales and promotions.  I could seeJetBlue gaining a lot of attention through these promotional tweets through their weekly JetBlue Cheeps, but I don’t know if some of these other companies would be able to benefit.  But I do have to admit, Starbucks is already getting A LOT of attention by being the first company to take part of the promoted tweets.  The majority of articles being written about the promoted tweets have included the picture above of the “example promoted tweet.”

But what does this mean for Twitter?  Could it have survived without the use of the promotional tweets?  Was there another way it could have made money?  Will people become frustrated by another place that will consume our lives with ads?  Wherever you turn there are advertisements.  Even Gmail customizes its ads depending on your e-mails and what you search for in Google.  And the same goes for Facebook.  Have you ever been frustrated with an ad that appears on the side of your Facebook page?  Is Twitter going down that same route?

Starbucks’ Winter

Who has heard of the Starbuck’s guy?  Aka the man who is trying to visit every Starbucks in the world.  Rafael Antonio Lozano Jr. has set a goal to buy a cup of coffee and take a picture at every Starbucks location in the world.  He calls himself “Winter” while he goes on these travels to achieve his goal.  However, with the recent economy, he has come across numerous problems as Starbucks stores are being closed left and right.  According to the Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124301100481847767.html), he spent $1,400 to fly to British Columbia when he heard one of the stores located there was closing.  He constantly takes time off of work to go on excursions to ensure he reaches a store before it closes.  Starbucks usually awards with him free coffee when he tells them who he is.

Is this obsession crazy?  On my campus alone, there are five Starbucks stores.  Is it crazy for him to attempt to reach all of the Starbucks in the entire world?  Is it even possible?  How long would it take?  How much money is he willing to spend to achieve this goal?  Starbucks is one of the largest chains in the world.  It is extremely difficult for me to find a place where I do not see a Starbucks at the next corner.  Apparently, he spends 25% of his earnings traveling to the various Starbucks locations.  How long will it be (in this economy) until he cannot afford this traveling anymore?

The success of Starbucks has always amazed me.  Their organizational structure is successful and admirable.  By regarding every employee highly by calling them partners, Starbucks is able to encourage employee satisfaction to ensure customer satisfaction.  The standard Starbucks formulas across the world have garnered more success in the eyes of customers who can always depend on a standard drink.  Starbucks has gone through organizational structural changes to keep up to date with the changing market to continue its success.  What better coffee company can you think of than Starbucks?