Wednesday, 14 April 2010

'Twinfomercials' a twitteriffic idea?

Like with any new advance or feature in the digital world Twitter has attracted mass debate. Even more so now with its introduction of advertising. Since its launch in 2006 Twitter has yet to real in any profit, but the time has come for Twitter to raise its bar. Competition in a sea of hungry social media has meant that Twitter needs to generate money to add more features and keep it as a main player in social media.

My initial reaction was quite neutral if I'm honest, I don't really see what major harm ads on Twitter will do. There are a number of formats for advertising on Twitter which vary in levels of intrusiveness. Some examples include the following:

Sponsored Tweets - Tweets would appear in your stream with a text-based ad and link.
On-Page ads - areas on the Twitter home page to place spot ads (a web page or banner ad)
Mobile ads - adding a small sponsored ad to the end of a mobile twitter text.

Obviously if Twitter users have opted to receive mobile Twitter texts then they should have the right to choose whether they receive ad-free texts, but the problem with this is surely the majority of people will opt out of Twiiter texts with ads. Undoubtedly then Twitter will have to make ads on its homepage and stream feed compulsory if brands are to witness ROI from their ads placed within Twitter.

However I am struggling to understand how ads for brands and businesses will work effectively as surely such brands will have to have a large fan/follower base for users to actually see their ad. Will this method only target consumers who are loyal to the brand and a follower of them on Twitter? What about targeting new consumers? I think if the new strategy is to work then Twitter should use its homepage to leverage brand Tweets and ads, but this still fails to overcome users who are constantly logged in to their twitter account and do not need to navigate through the Twitter homepage.

Due to Twitters informative and snappy nature I do believe that branded Tweets and ads could definitely add value to businesses and brands but do not believe that Twitter ads will be a long term strategy for brands and advertisers. As more brands warm to the use of Twitter as a marketing strategy in a shift towards going digital, I can see competition for placing ads on Twitter increasing in the near future. I hope that Twitter doesn't become too corporate and greedy. Twitter should remember its growth to success in its early days: the public! Don't forget your grass roots Twitter!

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