Twitter Ads

Illustration by jolieodell, through Flickr

Illustration by jolieodell, through Flickr

By Ava Naves, Principal


Local Internet celebrity John Chow has been in the news quite a bit in the last few days, thanks to his introduction of ads to his Twitter updates (Here are the original articles in The New York Times and in The Gawker).

I have posted a couple of comments on other sites about this, which pretty much express my thoughts on this one – at least up until this point in time. I’d be a fool to think that my opinion might not evolve as I hear more on both sides of the equation.

The first comment I wrote was in response to Philip Novak’s link to The New York Times, posted in his Facebook page: It reads…

” I have mixed feelings on that one. On one hand, the original tweet about M&Ms did have “(Ad)” in its text. In addition, if people dislike John’s commercial tweets, they have a simple choice, which is to unfollow him.

As a marketer, I’d be very skeptic about recommending this ad platform to advertisers. It’d be interesting to see what kinds of conversions those ads receive, and how they affect not only the advertiser’s reputation, but also the reputation of the Twitter user who originally posts it.

As a Twitter user, I wouldn’t dare sending a Twitter ad to my followers. It decreases the intrinsic level of trust that brought Twitter to where it is now. And if someone I trust and follow began to post those ads, their reputation would take a quick plunge, leading me to unfollow them.”

Then, a little earlier today, I posted this second comment, on Patti Schom-Moffatt’s blog post:


As you probably know, John Chow made the news because he started incorporating ads in his Twitter stream.

I personally wouldn’t integrate ads in my Twitter updates, largely because I feel that it betrays the trust between myself and my followers.

Maybe John Chow’s followers may not have been surprised that he’d adopt this practice. In that case, whether or not he runs Twitter ads might not necessarily hurt his number of followers.

But what if an ad runs through a Twitter account where followers did not see it coming? In that case, it would be interesting to see the long-term effects on the reputations of both the advertiser and the Twitter account that published the ad.

I could see this ad model working for Twitter accounts that already include information about commercial offers, like coupons, discounts, local offers, etc, but not for others that have built their reputation based on the personal tone in their conversations.

Last but not least, if anyone is insulted by the ads, they always have a choice: unfollow whoever published them.”

So this sums up my thoughts on this… for now.

Would love to hear your opinion. Do you agree? Disagree? Why?

Leave a Reply

2 Responses to “Twitter Ads”

  1. i admire John Chow because of his innovative ways to gain traffic both from whitehat and greyhat methods.*.*

  2. Anthony says:

    It’s interesting watching everyone explore this new space. I strongly agree with what you’ve written here.

    I’d also add that my Twitter stream is _mine_. I get to choose the content. If I’m following someone who I don’t expect to have ads and they start tweeting ads, then suddenly my stream is getting polluted. Why would I choose to have more ads? It’s kind of like choosing to have more telemarketers call me at suppertime.

    Frankly, ads are disappointing and a de facto violation of the social contract. If Twitter is about engagement, conversations, and relationship building, where do ads fit in to that?