Twitter has just rolled out a pretty substantial new update to the iOS versions of its app today. Several of the new features look nice, such as the new Tweet box design, and the easier way to find friends via phone contacts. But the most interesting new feature is “Quick Bar” as it finally gives Twitter a way to monetize the app. And it’s already annoying a number of users.
To be clear, Quick Bar is currently only found on the iPhone version of the app. It resides at the top of the Tweet stream and cycles through currently trending topics (and you can swipe to cycle through them yourself). But the key is that it also includes Promoted Trending Topics here. In other words, it shoves ads into the Tweet stream.
Now, I agree that these are better than most ads you see on the web — and especially in other apps. But they’re still ads. And users of the iPhone Twitter client (even when it was still known as Tweetie) have not been accustomed to seeing ads before. So it’s not too surprising that there’s some backlash already. Just in my stream alone, the immediate reaction to the new feature is wondering if there’s a way to turn it off. (You can disable local trends, but not the feature overall, as far as I can tell.)
For the most part, people seem most upset because this feature being shoved in your face, and not necessarily the fact that ads are a part of it. (The fact that the feature is overlaid on Tweets themselves if you’re not at the top of the stream is pretty annoying.) But it seems pretty clear that the ads are the reason for the feature.
Regardless, it’s an obvious idea for Twitter to try this out as they move forward on their efforts to monetize. I can’t wait to see what the click-through rates of these Promoted Trending Topics are going to be. And what the accidental click-through rates will be…