Word from the Twitter blog:
With our most recent app updates, Promoted Accounts are now in Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Android. And in the coming weeks, we’ll begin introducing Promoted Tweets in the timeline on these mobile apps.
Many would think this is precisely the reason to not use the official Twitter apps, but I think it is precisely the reason to use the official mobile apps. I have long been telling people that I think it is only a matter of time before you can’t use third-party Twitter apps — at least not without them being crippled — and I see this move as further evidence of that.
Think about it another way: what if RSS feed reading clients started to block my ‘sponsored posts’ that I send out weekly? I would want to stop them from being able to do that because by not stopping them I would be directly harming my ability to make money off of this site. Advertisers would be getting less eyeballs and therefore less return for their money and would be less inclined to advertise on this site. It’s really that simple.
The same is true with Twitter.
By injecting ads (I mean promoted tweets) into the timelines of their mobile apps, the company is (presumably) making money. When other third-party apps do not show those ads in the timeline, those apps are effectively reducing the eyeballs that see the ads, which in turn is devaluing the ad. Therefore, in order for Twitter to maximize revenue from the ads (oh, promoted tweets) that it interjects, all Twitter clients must show them.
So either every third-party app will need to interject Twitter’s own ads, or those/some third-party apps need to no longer work with the service. That’s the way forward — that’s how Twitter survives as a business — and make no mistake Twitter needs more than VC money to survive.
(On a separate note, don’t confuse this post with me being happy that ads are going to be put in my timeline.)