Our little baby is all grown up. Just 30 months ago, Twitter was flying under the radar and people interested in microblogging might very well have joined Identica, Pounce, Plurk or other lookalike services. By early 2010, Twitter handled 50 million tweets per day and had become crucial to hundreds of brands and tens of millions of people, but it still had just one visible (and arguably modest) means of support—search engine deals with Microsoft and Yahoo. As of today, Twitter is getting a job and earning its keep with the rollout of an ad platform.
As it grew and became a more important communications channel, Twitter found its business model the focus of intense scrutiny; for example, when Ev Williams failed to announce an ad platform at SXSW, there was palpable disappointment among bloggers and other observers. This week, Twitter is addressing that disappointment with the rollout of its new Promoted Tweet program, which offers some benefits to brands. What are those benefits and what are the limitations for marketers?