A few years ago, Twitter started adding promoted tweets to everyone’s timelines in order to generate some extra scratch for the site. Nine times out of ten, I don’t even realize I’m looking at one. Twitter’s mission is to make the ads innocuous enough that they don’t spam your timeline, auto-playing videos don’t have sound by default, and they’re only showing you stuff you might be interested in. It’s one of the few ad platforms that you can ignore simply by moving your finger slightly. But let’s say I actually do care about one of these ads, like a movie trailer or a product that is offering a deal I can take advantage of. Often times, especially with mobile, I’ve noticed it’s not as easy as just watching the video.
Some of my least favorite commercials involve Sarah McLachlan and sad dogs. So when I scroll past an ad promising a video of a sad little pup getting rescued from some tar, I want to see that goddamn pup get rescued from the tar! But this particular promoted tweet has placed an ad in front of the video that you’re forced to watch before you can watch the ad that you’re already watching! Like some sort of stale Xzibit meme, Twitter is now placing ads within your ads so you can get frustrated while you get frustrated.
Now, I’m no fancy suit-wearin’ marketing guru here to tell Twitter how to do their job, but ads like that seem completely counterintuitive. It’s like they’re actively ignoring the fact that nobody goes to Twitter for its video content and they’ve been consistently losing money since starting the company. Sneaking these ads into our timelines and then making us watch a commercial before the ad is a real quick way for anyone to lose what little interest they had. Especially when I can just google “saved dog from tar” and find out that the little tar-puppy is doing just fine. Thanks for nothing, Twitter.