So Twitter finally turned on promoted tweets within your feed (It took them long enough). But that hasn’t stopped everyone from freaking out about it. I’ll just spoil the end of this and say that Promoted Tweets are a step forward for marketing in general. Anyone who doesn’t like this isn’t seeing the big picture.

So what is it? If you follow a brand, and that brand paid Twitter some money (okay, it’s probably fair to say that it’s not an inconsequential sum of money), you get a promoted tweet. You know what this is like? It’s not at all like most standard marketing/ad campaigns and that’s excellent for us.

If this was how broadcast TV worked (or newspapers or magazines or websites), I’d only see commercials and ads for things I’ve already decided I like. Man, I’d watch that channel. 

Now, I know how this starts out. Brand X does a cool giveaway (get an iPhone 5! or a wing form a space shuttle!) if you follow them, and then they promote their stuff. But you know how I (and you!) can turn these promoted tweets off? Stop following the brand.

Oh no! You have control! Wait, that’s a good thing.

This is the leverage we need to keep brands from being jerks and spamming us all the time. Since we can walk away any time, its in their best interests to make sure their messages are relevant and useful (Who doesn’t want more stuff that’s relevant and useful? I can’t get enough of relevant and useful, it just seems like it’s in short supply). 

Do you see where where this is leading us? That we only get promotions that we want to get? It gets us to the point where marketing isn’t screaming at us, it’s us opting into the conversation because we think there’s something in it for us (a deal, awareness of a new product, a chance to get access to a special most people don’t normally get, etc). This sounds remarkably like opt-in marketing, doesn’t it? Because it is! The glory of it is that it doesn’t clutter up our inbox, our mailbox, and is where we already are. This leads us to marketing’s Holy Grail: Marketing that’s so useful, we actually want it!

On the marketer’s side, it means no more success defined as “> 0.01% clickthrough rate.” It means we can build relationships with our customers and extend those relationships out through their networks. These relationships for real ties that help us understand our clients and work to position our products to be of more benefit to our clients (I know! Cool, huh?).

So I, for one, salute our new Twitter overlords and say, “If you want me to keep following your Twitter account, be a good corporate mouthpiece and keep giving me helpful, relevant and useful info. Do onto me, and I shall keep buying from you.” Good deal?

This is where the blog post should have ended, but I kept going…

But let’s take that further. I was having a conversation with one of our writers here (A Stadler to my Waldorff, as it were) and we were talking about how when you shop for certain things, Google knows and Google shows you a lot of ads for it. If you haven’t noticed it, go to Old Navy and “shop” for a shirt. Or Zappos and “shop” for a shoe. Now go to Google Reader or another Google property with display ads and you’ll probably see the shoe or shirt you liked.

A friend of mine (Hi, @derekmabie!) is at #moxcon and someone said that 58% of all searchers want to search and complete the action as part of their search experience. 

Hmm… When I go shirt shopping, if I see a shirt I want, I buy it. Now that I’ve bought the shirt, I am now the last person you shoul be showing a shirt ad to. What would be useful? Understanding that if I searched for (and bought: c’mon, If Amazon and the next top ten online retailers connected to Google, that’s like 80% of all shopping in one place, right?) a shirt is handy, but if it knew that most people who bought that shirt then went on to buy a pair of sunglasses they should be showing me sunglasses ads. I bet with that kind of data, Google could know that most people buy the complementary product within X hours and stop showing that ad after that timespan. Google already knows so much about me, they should start stepping up and being actually helpful with its ad system. Google will be able to tell me with XYZ% certainty what I am looking for next. Couple that with my browsing history and search history, Google will soon be able to be my automated assistant.

Quick vote: is that scary or cool. Right now I lean towards cool.

Twitter me @digital_pharma or just comment.