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Twitter Promoted Trends: Taking Political Advertising to the Next Level

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What costs over $100,000 and lives for only a day? It must be something pretty valuable for that kind of cash -- something political investors would consider essential in driving their message.

The top Twitter trend of the day -- the one shown at the top of the trend list on the left side of Twitter.com -- can, in fact, be purchased for a $100k+, according to Twitter Director of Revenue Adam Bain. But what compels companies, organizations, and investors to hand over that kind of dough for just a 24-hour promotion?

For starters, there are over 500 million Twitter users worldwide -- a lot of eyeballs. Many of these users click on the promoted trend of the day just to see what the conversation is about, easily converting new readers to the subject at hand.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Twitter's Adam Sharp said that one in 10 Twitter users exposed to the promoted trend of the day are clicking on it.But there's more to it than just coming up with a word of the day. Politically focused advertisers must devise clever trends that will clearly direct users to their message and steer clear of a Twitter hijacking.

When Americans for Prosperity (AFP) purchased a Twitter trend several weeks ago, those on the left began using AFP's purchased hashtag, #FailedAgenda, against them. A hijacking was in motion, and AFP had little time to change gears.

Thankfully, Twitter offers advertisers two trends per day for the price of one -- within the span of 24 hours. For the second part of the AFP switched the promoted trend to #16TrillionFail--a trend that couldn't be turned on its head to mean something else.

During the Democratic National Convention this year, the Obama campaign purchased #Forward2012, while the Romney campaign bought #RomneyRyan2012 for Romney's nomination speech. Hashtags trends such as these are not particularly creative, but they serve as a substantial resource that supporters can take from to tack on to their own politically minded tweets.

Other purchased trends have been more light-hearted. For example, the AARP recently purchased a trend for actress Betty White's 90th birthday, encouraging people to tweet #HappyBirthdayBetty.

While many trends include movie premieres and huge product lines, the political side must be more strategic in honing their trend messages. Could it easily be taken out of context? Will it attract those users not traditionally focused on political tweets? These questions are essential in determining the quality of life for a promoted trend.

Additionally, advertisers can put added value toward their promoted trends by positioning a promoted tweet search for the promoted trend. For example, before the AFP-promoted trend "#FailedAgenda" was hijacked, users were directed to the search landing page, where a promoted tweet directed them to more AFP-produced information including new hashtags, where the cycle could go on for another round.

With promoted trends, politicians and organizations have a unique opportunity to let their messages set the tone of the day online. If you have that kind of budget, give it a try.

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