the misnomer of social strategy
Twitter's courting the wrong audience

twitter's "ad" model - the agency perspective

Disclosure: I am writing this from the perspective of an agency employee, but in no way represent my employer or it's parent company

Promotedtweet So Twitter's finally doing itAds will be sold as "sponsored tweets" that appear on a search page.  Awesome.  While we still don't know all the details around pricing or sales support models, there is a lot we can speculate about, so as good blogger, here goes.

Why this works
  • Reputation management is a beast.  One customer makes one mistake, and is retweeted 50 times.  Brands aren't going to barrage their followers with 50 @messages, and most of the brand response get's lost in the noise anyway. At the very least it makes the brand response more visible.
  • Brands WANT TO BUY into twitter.  Conversational engagement isn't easy to buy.  Media is.
  • Search and social have always been very close cousins.  This new brings the two disciplines one step closer.  Though on the flip side, Gd help us now that we will have one more type of niche practice claiming to "own" social.
  • Exposure based on relevancy, not just keywords.  This will likely reward brands with the most relevant and engaging messages, which is a win for the strategists over the screamers.
  • It's not about celebrities.  And THANK YOU to whoever made that decision.
  • Update: Promoted Tweets In-Stream are great for really beloved brands that want to extend the reach of very community centric tweets.
Why it's challenging
  • Just because a client buy a Sponsored Tweets package, doesn't mean they are done.  This will be part of a toolkit.  Most marketers won't get this right for some time, and it certainly doesn't make anything simpler.
  • ROI isn't going to be about clicks.  But every effectiveness study we will see for the next while will look at media performance and call it ROI.  Here's to hoping some numbers gurus get it right.
  • This doesn't look like a platform for anything other than proactive messaging.  Most customers don't search for brands on twitter unless they are a trending topic.  Twitter is a conversational platform.  Search is ancillary.  Hence, it's really only effective for reactive messaging.  Hey, ads on conversational... kind of.
  • CPM based buying will difficult to scope for when facing a crisis, especially when a brand is a trending topic.
  • Update: Promoted Tweets In-Stream will not be taken well by many users, especially those that dislike the brand or the disruptive message.  Users will get over it, but agencies need to be realistic about the brands they are working with.  The risk is substantial, the reward is likely minimal.  Most smart agencies will wait and see on this one, running smaller tests that pose far smaller risk.
What Twitter needs to do to make this a reality
  • Work with brands and agencies.  This means answering emails and picking up the phone.
  • Build a non-west coast presence.  Agency money is in Chicago and NY, welcome to the party.
  • Build a measurement solution that blows us away, pilot it with big brands, and not just those already very popular on Twitter.
  • Update: Twitter needs to nail the targeting for in-stream tweets, or otherwise call them out really well.  The potential for twitter, for marketers and for users is substantial.  But there will be very real and occasionally justified skepticism from users and marketers.  For more on this check out John Battelle's post (hat tip Will Fleiss to for sharing).

PS - It's still too early to call it a day

  • Robert Scoble has it right.  More to come at Chirp on Wednesday.  And it's going to be VERY important for marketers to pay attention.  Because we market to people, many of whom use 3rd party clients.  The new user dynamic will define our communications implementation.