Twitter, which just got into the advertising business last year, will start selling political ads this week.

The ads will appear as Promoted Tweets, which come up under certain search terms or in the timeline of Twitter users who follow a political campaign. Campaigns can also pay to appear on the top of search trends or to appear as suggested accounts to follow.

Promoted political tweets will be designated by a little purple check mark; commercial tweets sport an orange arrow. Campaigns who advertise on Twitter can also include a full, FEC-compliant disclaimer when users hover over their Promoted Tweets, Promoted Trends or Promoted Accounts.

Five campaigns have already signed up, including the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the presidential campaign of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

“Twitter is a leading platform for real-time engagement and @MittRomney is constantly looking for ways to share his vision to turn around the economy,” said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul.

“I can see these new political products being used frequently for rapid response and fundraising around the big, unpredictable moments that happen with every campaign,” said Mindy Finn, a Republican media strategist with Engage DC.

Twitter, with a worldwide audience of about 100 million, has become a ubiquitous campaign promotional tool. Most candidates have not just their own Twitter feeds but accounts for staffers, campaign headquarters and family members. President Obama held a Twitter town hall earlier this year.

Mileage varies — former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s 1.3 million Twitter followers has not translated into support from donors or poll respondents. White House Twitter campaigns such as #askobama and #attackwatch were hijacked and mocked by rivals.

“Advertising in an inherently interactive environment is risky,” said Micah Sifry, the co-founder of Personal Democracy Forum. “It will work best for campaigns or causes that are genuinely trying to weave networks of supporters, and backfire on anyone who thinks Twitter is like broadcast media.”

The company plans to expand to more campaigns once its political sales team is built up. Twitter hired Peter Greenberger, who worked on political advertising at Google for the past four years, as part of this effort. For now, at least, political ads will only appear to that campaign’s followers or in searches.

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