In April we wrote that promoted tweets would be sent through the API. Today, Twitter took a first step toward that, by adding promoted trends to the API, with promoted tweets to follow shortly. The company also re-confirmed its plan to share revenue with developers, though the split has yet to be determined.
Twitter Developer Advocate Matt Harris let developers know about the changes and the two new fields available:
Clients using the API will see new fields related to promoted content
in the response they get back from the /1/trends/current.json request
and any local trends requests. These two new data points will show in
the json response as "events" and "promoted_content".
We are still building the data points out and have more updates to
make. Whilst that is happening, the two data points won't be able to
return any useful content, and instead will have a value of 'null'.
Twitter plans to beta test "over the next few months" with select desktop application developers, before bringing completely unleashing promoted tweets to all applications. Harris also confirmed what Twitter COO Dick Costolo said at the Chirp conference: Twitter plans to share revenue with developers.
Twitter's new ad units have seen some early success and little to no backlash so far. Might a revenue split move the needle for developers? I'd be surprised if users do as many casual searches for hot topics in 3rd party clients as they do on the site, or if general trending topics are as closely watched by the kinds of advanced users who use that kind of software.
Popular Twitter clients, such as Seismic and TweetDeck, are likely to see the most benefit because of the volume of users. The revenue will likely not make as much difference to developers of simple and fun mashups, but it's nonetheless nice to see an API provider sharing the value it gains from its developer community.