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Advertweeting: The New Frontier

Today in advance of its Chirp Conference, stories appeared about how Twitter was going to start offering promoted tweets in 2010. People are commenting – What does this mean? Has Twitter flown the coop? Will fan backlash cause it to soon be singing in the Choir Invisible?

I for one am glad to see at least one way in which Twitter is monetizing its service. Despite what some companies have done, you can only go so far without positive cash flow. What does this mean to the average user?

Probably not that much. 

A random, I mean highly targeted, Tweet will be inserted into a user’s Twitter stream (not sure what that will do to my multiple TweetDeck stream). Initially they will only appear as a result of Twitter search. Ads/sponsored tweets will be removed if they don’t generate much engagement.

For those that follow a lot of people (like I do), that sponsored tweet may fly right by. For those that follow a few folks (which appears to be the majority of people not in marketing, PR or social media) it might be an unexpected interruption. But people will gloss over it quickly.

Reports have it that only one ad will appear at a time. This may make it difficult for the niche marketers. While I have a passion for personal financial management software, I also love soda and coffee, and expect Starbucks to trump any PFM vendor in terms of volume and response, relegating the PFM ads, I mean sponsored tweets,  to much less frequent appearance.

What are some key takeaways for consumer technology, green and B2B marketers and PR professionals.

  1. This is a new and intriguing way to leverage the Twitter channel to drive some short-term engagement and customer response.
  2.  Sponsored tweets are not a replacement for authentic, two-way conversations. They may help attract a new audience in a flock, but the audience will not necessarily be loyal, remain engaged or start to follow you. The only way to do that is through interaction and providing value beyond a deal of the day.
  3. The sponsored tweets could be a good complement to existing initiatives and crisis communications campaigns. (I can foresee a day when Toyota uses a sponsored Tweet in the future to spread the word about its response to customer concerns).
  4. This will benefit the brands that have an established Twitter presence. Do not think of this as a solution for building a long-term, loyal, base. You need to reach out to folks to do that, not expect them to reach out to you.

What do you think about Advertweeting?

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Mark McClennan

Mark McClennan

Senior Vice President at MSLGROUP

For the past 19 years, Mark has led teams working with innovative technology and healthcare clients for MSLGROUP. He is also the national treasurer for PRSA.

Mark McClennan

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