Twitter is a free social networking service that connects individuals throughout the world. Twitter users can post up to 140 characters within a post, which is referred to as a tweet. The user's tweets are then displayed on their own profile page for everyone to view; however, depending on their individual privacy settings, they may have their tweets protected so that they can only be viewed by their list of pre-approved followers (which are other users that request to trail, or follow, an individual and their tweets). Along with being posted on the individual's page, their tweets are also continuously streamed on a feed that is viewable by their list of followers so that they don't have to check your page to see if you've posted anything new--the tweets are sent to them! Not only is Twitter a great place for individuals to communicate, but this social networking device is also a great place to search for career opportunities, create stronger networking connections, research other businesses and companies, and expand your overall wealth of knowledge.

How Twitter is used as a Means for Advertising


There are various applications that have been created and placed into the Twitter world with regards to advertising . Each application introduces a unique way of advertising on Twitter. Although the applications may not be directly affiliated with Twitter, you must be a Twitter member in order to access them. Some of the most popular applications are BeTweeted, sponsoredtweets, Twittad and adCause.[1] Don't forget...members may also individually advertise by means of their own tweet--free of cost!

Before you dive right in, there are some key tips to remember when advertising on Twitter. The most important point to remember is if you want customers to follow your tweets and be interactive with your ads, you must be interactive with them as well. In other words, using auto-posting Twitter bots, machines that automatically post tweets on your page, is a very bad approach to take when attempting to create a personal connection. Advertisers on Twitter need to realize that Twitter is a social networking system—people
starbucks.jpgjoin twitter to engage with others.[1]

Companies that communicate on a personal level with their customers through Twitter successfully all have one thing in common: they setup a Twitter profile that focuses on one person or group of people that are affiliated with the company. Customers want to know who they are communicating with and establish a personal connection with this individual. It allows the customer to feel as if their voice is being heard.

Also, in order to become a “friendly tweeter,” it is encouraged to ReTweet your followers' tweets. Retweeting, or RT, allows followers to know that you are active in what others are posting and they are more likely to retweet your posts in return.


BeTweeted is an easy way to get people to tweet about your company and products. There are a few steps to take in order to get started. First, you set your own budget and goals depending on the campaign you’re funding. The best part about this is that you’ll never get charged more than the budget you specify. Following that, you decide how much each click from a Twitter user is worth. Lastly, BeTweeted tracks all of the clicks and shows you the progress of your links. BeTweeted allows for a low-cost way of providing a large amount of exposure to the target audience with almost immediate feedback…and best of all--no spam![1]


sponsoredtweets is another Twitter application that helps advertisers connect with their target audience through Tweeters’ posts. Featured Tweeters are Marlon Wayans, Ryan Sheckler, Nick Cannon, Khloe Kardashian, and many more. Simply put, sponsoredtweets connects advertisers with Twitter pages that are followed and viewed by a lot of people and pays these users to tweet about their products. For a more detailed description, check out how it works.


There are various ways to personalize your Twitter profile page, and choosing a background image is one of them. Twittad is a website that allows Twitter users to post their accounts on their site, which then enables it to be used by advertisers. Advertisers utilize individuals’ accounts by offering them money in return for the account user to place their ad on their profile’s background. The way Twittad works is simple: first, the Twitter users post their account’s background on the website with both a price and a time length for the ad; then, the ad agency purchases their background by paying Twittad the money requested by the Twitterer and 5% commission to Twittad ($0.99 minimum). Lastly, the ad company chooses their image based on what they are aiming to promote (a new product, a website, or a brand). Twittad uses a proficient form of technology to perform a nonstop check on the Twitter user’s profile to ensure that they are still displaying the advertisement; consequently, if the image is removed before the designated time period the remaining money gets refunded to the advertiser.


AdCause is a website that allows you to be a publisher and/or an advertiser. When referring to the advertising aspect of the website, it is extremely useful. Along with the other applications, you must first become a member and create a username. AdCause allows advertisers to create a search for publishers by selecting their desired location, price and how many followers they would like the publishing company to have. Once your search is complete, adCause will provide you with a list of publishers, their Twitter ID, Adspot description, how many people they are following, how many people are following them, price, duration, and frequency. If you decide that there are too many results, which will most likely be the case, you can simply raise the number of followers you desire from the publishing company or narrow the location radius.

An essential feature of adCause is that before you decide to purchase the publisher you have the opportunity to make an offer, which involves changing the duration, frequency, and price. Once you make a deal, you select your advertisement for them to publish and continue to check the status of your ads through adCause.


Why use Twitter?

Instant Results

Twitter allows for advertisers to connect with millions of people around the world and receive their feedback immediately. Interaction between advertisers and customers is instantaneous and with the proper technology can be recorded and analyzed effortlessly.

Use of Applications

Numerous applications are available to provide a wide-range of methods to advertise according to your company’s needs. Some applications provide low-costs, others calculate your ads frequency, and there are many more that accommodate other specific needs and desired perks.

Wide Reach at a Low Cost

If you want to place an ad without using an application, Twitter also allows you to create your company’s own profile within minutes and begin tweeting your ads immediately. You can search for your target audience by using the search tool to locate people with related interests and followings. Twitter creates the opportunity for a company to achieve an extremely wide reach at a low cost.

Limitations and Drawbacks


As mentioned in the introduction, Tweets have a 140 character limit. For a majority of advertisements this is not a significant amount of space to place an ad. Although there are shortcuts and adjustments that are made throughout the Twitter community. Either way, advertisers are going to have to make every word count! To some, the character limit is favorable because it helps to cut through the clutter and get straight to the point.


An advantage of Twitter could also be a fault: effortless feedback. Twitterers can reply to ads and give feedback in a matter of seconds; whether it is honest or not. Some people tweet just to tweet. In other words, they may not have a care or any knowledge of your brand or product and provide a response solely because someone else did, resulting in inaccurate response calculations (i.e, reach/frequency/etc.).

Costs of Advertisements

Costs of Advertising through Applications

As mentioned above, the costs of advertising by means of the various applications differ. Advertising websites may require a flat rate, a commissioning percentage, or you can collaborate on a price by making an offer.[1]

Another determinant is the frequency you are intending to achieve through a certain publisher, or the length of time you wish to display the ad via a publisher or Twitterer. The greater the number of people you wish to reach, the higher the frequency, and the longer the length the advertisement needs to be promoted results in higher prices.

Costs of Advertising by Self-Tweeting

Creating a Twitter account for your company and staffing workers to tend to the account, post tweets and self-distribute advertisements is a timely but cost-efficient process. The costs associated with advertising on your company’s Twitter account is simply be the costs that the company undergoes in order to hire workers to manage the account.

Reach and Frequency


Twitter’s reach varies from advertisement to advertisement. The percentage of individuals within the target audience exposed to an advertisement at least once within a given schedule is hard to accumulate.

Although a company may pay a publisher to display their advertisement various times throughout the day or a company posts tweets on their own Twitter page, it does not guarantee that the advertisement is seen by all of their followers. Tweets happen constantly; thus, when an ad is tweeted, it may scroll down the page before a majority of followers have the chance to read it. Repetition is a large part of obtaining reach; so, if you appeal to your followers they will make sure to keep an eye on your company’s tweets.


Frequency is the number of times a person sees the message in a given schedule, and is often times difficult to measure on the Internet. Regardless, it can be measured with the help of advertising applications and other data that is usually collected for you. Most advertising applications have advanced technology that enables their website to measure the frequency of your ad for you. For some, it calculates the frequency and displays it on a chart in ratio form automatically.

Depending on the application you choose, the feedback and presentation of frequency varies. Also, staying connected with your company’s followers on a devoted level encourages followers to retweet your tweets. The number of times a follower RTs your message or responds by tweeting back is a sufficient measurement of frequency which rises exponentially once their followers are exposed to their Tweets, ReTweet, and so on.


Advertising companies and Twitterers advertise efficiently and effectively by using any of the three scheduling patterns. Flighting, continuous, and pulsing may all be used in a quick and cost-friendly way. If you choose to change your scheduling pattern you can do so inexpensively in a matter of minutes.

Impact of Twitter

Jonathan Glick, a news enthusiast and programmer, states, “Twitter dovetails very nicely with marketers’ desire, after years of frustration, to have a direct relationship with their potential consumers. You don’t use the middleman…The thing with Twitter that’s so interesting is that you can do it so inexpensively. It’s the easiest to use platform, it’s the cheapest to use platform. It’s just incredibly viral, so your content gets spread wide without a whole lot of effort on the marketers’ part.”[2]

Direct Contact with Consumers

Twitter allows advertisers and various companies to connect with their customers on a personal basis. They can have a one-on-one interaction through direct messaging (DM), or consumers can simply interact with the company by means of Tweets and RTs. Companies can receive instant feedback on their advertisements through the applications and also gain knowledge of what their consumers are thinking by checking out the profiles of those they are following to see what they are tweeting about.[2]


Unlike television commercials, radio advertisements, billboards, and numerous other advertising mediums, Twitter allows companies to advertise on a large scale with prices that won’t break their budget. The ads that are sent out through the use of Tweets (straight from the companty’s profile) and RTs (from its followers) are completely free. Using applications and renting Twitterers’ profile backgrounds are the main expenses associated with advertising on Twitter, and beat of all, they're cheap too!

Easy to Use

Since Twitter is incredibly easy to use, it constructs an advertiser-friendly atmosphere. Target audiences are reached with little trouble and ads can be sent out in seconds with immediate feedback pertaining to the media metrics and ROI (Return on Investment). Demographicsand psychographics of consumers can be determined by examining their Twitter profiles, Tweets and interacting with followers. Also, scheduling does not have to be set in stone and can be changed at any time. If a company suddenly decides that they no longer want to advertise continuously and want to focus on flighting to increase frequency at certain times of the year, they can make this transformation abruptly with no setbacks. [2]

To advertisers, the most appreciated quality of Twitter may be the fact that they do not have to use a middleman.[2] If companies choose to do so, they can send Tweets from anywhere…without even being in the office. This is great for traveling businessmen, busy advertising companies, or any company at all. Companies that wish to create an ad must communicate and work with multiple people before their ad reaches certain mediums such as radio or television, but not with Twitter.

Wide Reach

There are millions of people that have Twitter accounts throughout the entire world.[4] A company can reach as many people as they would like, or they could conduct a search to find a specific target audience.[2]

Also, RTs allow for messages to get sent to Twitterers that are following your company. Establishing close relationships with consumers on Twitter will expand the reach of a message. For example: suppose a company, “Discount Foods”, is active within the Twitter World and posts a tweet, “Buy One Get One Free, All Frozen Food!” Most likely, a fraction of Discount Foods’ followers that are actively following the company will post RTs on their own profiles. This allows for Twitterers that are following those individuals that initially posted the RTs to view the sale, even though they may not be a follower of Discount Foods.

Value of Audience

Twitterers are very crucial components for both advertisers and companies for a number of reasons. First, they provide direct feedback. Regarding the direct feedback, the advertiser or company can RT or send DMs to the audience if they desire more information.[3] Again, connecting with the audience on a personal level is very important.

Another key point is that, unlike Facebook and MySpace, Twitter’s audience is made-up of people in an older age group (established business people, adults, and the elderly). The reason people obtain Twitter accounts is to interact and share their opinions with others. Together, older aged individuals coupled with the desire to spread their knowledge to others results in experienced adults that enjoy sharing their opinions by choice. This is far better than paying people to participate in focus groups or approaching hostile citizens to participate in surveys becauseTwitter users approach you!



Once a Twitter user decides to follow your company’s Twitter, they are implying that they are interested in what you are tweeting about. If they choose to actively follow your company than you must be tweeting about areas of interest that are of value to them. Otherwise, they wouldn’t spend time following your company. So, this early stage of interaction will eventually lead to responsiveness if you spark enough interest.
Responsiveness from followers may set in motion tweets about your company on their own Twitter, RTs from your tweets, or DMs sent to your company.[1] A retweet on someone else’s page is considered a flattering remark; meaning, the user admires your company enough to mention your company on their Twitter to be viewed by their Followers—that’s a free advertisement![5]


Responsiveness from applications is very helpful because it is a collaboration of results. Subsequently, you do not have to send out tweets and follow other Twitter users to generate buzz about your company. Using an application with a publisher allows you to select a publishing company with a large amount of followers that will send your ad out to handfulls of people at once. The best part about using an application is that your ad is distributed for you and compile the results for you too. The response time is continuous and results are always being updated.[5]

Other Interesting Facts about Twitter


A Hashtag, or #tag, is a group of tweets that have a specific identity, or topic, on Twitter. For example, suppose a group of people want to talk about the 2008 Presidential Election, they can create a group and name it #Obama. Then, if people want to join in the discussion about President Obama all they have to do is put “#Obama” somewhere throughout their tweet, like: "I hope #Obama wins!"


@messages are used when you want to respond or communicate with a specific Twitter user. To use an @message, you send a tweet with an "@" before a user's Twitter account name. This is then posted on your twitter page, the user's direct message inbox so they are alerted instantly, and it will also link the post to their page so their followers can also read what you are tweeting about them.


A Tweetup is an in-person gathering organized through Twitter. This can be a gathering for social reasons, professional reasons, or for a specific cause.[1]


You can access Twitter from a smart phone like a BlackBerry or iPod via the Twitter application.

Popular Applications

1. TwitScoop is an application that shows a tag cloud of bubbles that vary in size according to what trends are becoming increasingly popular on Twitter.

2. Twopular shows the trending topics for the last two hours, eight hours, day, weeks, month, and “ever since.”

3. Twittersphere shows the most popular links and how many times they have been mentioned in a tweet.

4. Twhirl is located on your computers desktop and delivers a stream of tweets. It gives you the option to reply, RT, direct message (DM), or mark as favorite.

5. Twitaholicshows you the most followed people on Twitter.

6. TweetBrainis a Twitter-powered Question & Answer service.

7. TwitPicallows you to post pictures from your phone.

Popular Advertisers Who use Twitter

Individuals within the Advertising/Marketing World to Follow:
external image twitter-2a.png

See Also

GroupTweet: Sends private Twitter messages to specific groups of friends.
Twibs:This application helps you find, follow and interact with businesses, apps and services on Twitter.
Twittercal: A service that connects your Twitter account to your Google Calendar and lets you add events easily, directly from your Twitter account.
Twittervision : Shows you locations of current Tweets that are happening in real-time.
Twuffer: A Twitter Buffer that allows the Twitter user to compose a list of future tweets and schedule their release.


1. O'Reilly, Tim, and Sarah Milstein. The Twitter Book. 1st ed. Beijing: O'Reilly, 2009. Scribd. 6 May 2009. Web. 22 Sept. 2009. <>.

2. "There may be a future for the news business, but it’s going to be unrecognizable." Interview by Diana Dellamere. Columbia Journalism Review 27 July 2009. Print.

3. Shinkle, Kirk. "Why Twitter Advertising Could Be A Huge Success." U.S. News & World Report. 21 Apr. 2009. Web. 20 Sept. 2009. < advertising-could-be-a-huge-success>.

4. Baker, Stephen. "Why Twitter Matters." Academic Search Complete. EBSCO, 15 May 2008. Web. 9 Oct. 2009. < direct=true&db=a9h&AN=32057839&site=ehost-live>.

5. Farhi, Paul. "The Twitter Explosion." Communication and Mass Media Complete. EBSCO. Web. 10 Oct. 2009. < direct=true&db=ufh&AN=41877978&site=ehost-live>.

6. Doyle, Alison. "Twitter Overview." Job Searching. Web. 8 Dec. 2010.