Twitter's Promoted Trends were launched in June as an advertising opportunity for brands and revenue opportunity for Twitter. At the Web 2.0 Summit Wednesday, co-founder Ev Williams dodged the question about revenue (simply saying "the numbers look good"), but did reveal that when something becomes a Promoted Trend, that increases the amount of conversation around a topic by 3-6 times. "What we've done is... given companies an opportunity to optimize what they're already doing on Twitter and increase the engagement and conversation around the topic," he said.
Brands can pay to have a topic placed in the Trends list that appears to the right of users feeds, as in the image above (which looks like it was placed by Target). Williams said the ones that work best have to do with movies or TV shows, and other kinds of media that people naturally like to talk about. He also said that Twitter has developed a "resonance score" and uses it to evaluate the performance of Promoted Trends in real-time. Trends that aren't being picked up by users get dropped from the list. "We can’t just put stuff in front of people if they don’t care about it," he said. "It doesn’t do them any good. It doesn’t do the advertiser any good."
Forty advertisers are using the program now, Williams said, and the company has kept that number intentionally small in order to test the service. So far so good, he said. "Our biggest challenge is that there's way too much demand for the supply," he said. "Most advertisers are coming back and want to buy more." Williams said Twitter plans to expand the program, and the number of advertisers using by the end of the year will be in "the hundreds."