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Promoted Trends may be trouble for Twitter, but they’re great for Toy Story 3

Twitter has gotten the blame for killing a few movies at the box office this year. But Disney’s Pixar is hoping the microblogging service can help their latest release, Toy Story 3, win fans.

Disney’s latest film is the first brand to win a slot in Twitter’s new Promoted Trends ad slot. And while Twitter is getting some criticism for fiddling with its most popular items, the placement is great branding for the Toy Story franchise.

Promoted Trends are just the latest iteration of Twitter’s new focus on ad revenue. A twist on Promoted Tweets, a Promoted Trends purchase can win a company a slot on Twitter’s coveted Trending Topics list. Of course, the ad is clearly highlighted in yellow and shows that it was promoted by a company when rolled over.

But that’s not enough distinction between advertising and content for some. As Gigaom writes:

is now trying to do two mutually exclusive things: be a smart
communications network with filters that help users discern what is
important, and sell ads that are mixed in with those filters. It’s going
to be a tough line to walk.”

It also won’t be easy for most brands to get a spot on the list. Promoted Trends are reported to cost “tens
of thousands” of dollars. That is also likely why Twitter is testing them out in front of all users rather than a beta version in front of select users to gauge effectiveness.

It wouldn’t be worth the money to a film like Toy Story 3 to have a few people see its tweets. The film is already getting great reviews, but the media mentions of its Twitter purchase are also working out to its benefit.

Of course, there are going to be critics. As As TheWrap
points out, it didn’t take long for @DisneyPixar‘s tweets to earn some mocking.

But being a first mover on initiatives like Promoted Trends is a great idea for advertisers.

Twitter, however, could have a lot of explaining to do with Promoted Trends, especially since it’s unclear when and if the promoted trend will moving up Twitter’s sidebar.

The company has yet to explain the details behind its “resonance algorithms” that calculate where promoted tweets reside. The true test of a Promoted Tweet will be whether it actually climbs up the list of
trending topics. If Twitter’s new ad model of relevant sponsored tweets actually resonate with users, it’s safe to assume that a paid tweet would become more widely spread around the microblogging community. If that doesn’t happen, it may not be worth the expenditure for advertisers in the long run.

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