What are Promoted Tweets?
Promoted Tweets are ordinary Tweets purchased by advertisers who want to reach a wider group of users or to spark engagement from their existing followers.
Promoted Tweets are clearly labeled as Promoted when an advertiser is paying for their placement on Twitter. In every other respect, Promoted Tweets act just like regular Tweets and can be re-tweeted, replied to, Favorited and more.
This is what the image will look like unless they change it of course.
Ingrid Lunden says that Adding Promoted Accounts to the desktop Timeline makes sense for Twitter for a number of reasons.
For one, it’s part of Twitter’s bigger push to have more parity between the mobile and desktop experiences — a theme that has also been highlighted with redesigns on the desktop to look more like the mobile product.
It’s also an obvious way of sweetening the deal for brands or individuals who might be considering forking out some money to Twitter to promote an account: more Timeline appearances = more views. Twitter has said that less than 10% of its revenue in the past came from Promoted Trends, so the converse of that is that perhaps something like Promoted Accounts is offering better returns, and this could be a way of extending that.
There is a more user-friendly reason for adding these in, too. Twitter pointed out in February that Timeline views were actually in decline last quarter, and some have pointed to a bigger problem in keeping users engaged in the product. This is one way that Twitter can suggest more accounts to users that might be interesting to them based on their other activity on the platform (I happen to be a bit interested in user privacy and security, and Twitter, so in fact the accounts that were promoted to me make some sense.)
It also fits with a more general statement that Costolo made during Twitter’s first quarterly earnings report.