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Epiphany Search

So here’s a first – Google have started displaying adverts from another company’s ad network! As discovered a few weeks back by Search Engine Land, if you run some searches in Google’s Realtime Search, it’s very likely you’ll start to encounter ‘Ads by Twitter’. Ads by Twitter on Google are just another name for Twitter’s new Promoted Tweets advertising platform. Promoted Tweets allow Twitter users to do as the name suggests – ‘promote’ a Tweet so that it can gain greater exposure to Twitter users.

At present, Tweets can be promoted in the following way: 1. Bidding on specific keywords, so that the advertiser’s Tweet shows at the top of results in a fixed position, regardless of how many new results begin appearing. The above is an example of McDonalds who are currently running Promoted Tweets to advertise the return of their McRib burger. The ‘Promoted by McDonald’s’ tweet will remain at the top, regardless of how many other results display below (which may be a good thing, if you don’t want to see too many Tweets like the one written by @LetsSeeActionNR featuring towards the top!) 2. The second option for Promoted Tweets is extremely new, and is currently being tested, so is by no means the finished article. Twitter has now begun testing Promoted Tweets in the main Twitter timeline of some users. In order to do this, they have rolled out this test just to users of Hootsuite (a 3rd party Twitter app – for more details click here. Rather than delivering a Promoted Tweet based on keyword search, users may see Promoted Tweets in their timeline when Twitter believes they are relevant and based on several factors such as who that user follows. So how will Promoted Tweets display on Google? Well, pretty much as they do on Twitter search as shown in option 1 above, but instead, they look more like Google Adwords Ads, except say ‘Ads by Twitter’. Here’s the same example for McRib, but as displayed on Google: So why are Google and Twitter suddenly such best buddies, and what does Google get out of this deal? Well, this isn’t the first time the two have worked together, as for about a year now, Google has been including real-time tweets in its search results as it feels its users will greatly benefit from the inclusion of up-to-the-minute data. It’s clear to me, and many others in the industry that search is evolving – users aren’t always looking for search results that may have been indexed last month. Half the time, yesterday’s results may even be too out of date – they want news fast, and real-time Twitter results provide that for Google. As Twitter are currently experimenting with Promoted Tweets, it’s clear to me that Google are extremely keen to see how successful monetising such a platform could be, which will be why they have allowed Twitter ads to display on their network. In return for a huge numbers of search impressions Twitter gains by featuring on Google, Google in return will be able to see user behaviour such as clickthrough rate. What would Google then do with that data? Well, that’s the million dollar question. Ultimately, Google is a business, and are constantly looking at ways in which to maximise its revenue. If the Promoted Tweet platform is successful enough for Twitter, do they then seek to build their own social media network to rival Twitter eventually? (which also gives them their own control of real-time results). Alternatively, do they go one step bigger, and look to buy Twitter themselves? Twitter certainly wouldn’t be a cheap acquisition by any means for Google, but if the future of search is heading down this route, it could end up being a very astute purchase. Watch this space!