Twitter Offers An Advertising Model

Twitter logoNo, “Twitter Offers An Advertising Model” is not a news headline.  It’s a proposition. 

Today I saw this tweet from @DellOutlet: “We (know) that you all want to see more coupon offers. Sorry we’ve been so quiet – our inventory has been a bit low.”  Checking @DellOutlet’s historical tweetstream, I guesstimate that they tweet once every 7 – 10 days. 

Low-key.  Value-based.  No one else on Twitter seems to mind.

I also read this blog post from Albert Maruggi, in which he plays out a dialogue between a Social Media enthusiast and a diabolical marketer.  From the nefarious marketeer in Maruggi’s post:

(Twitter is) the greatest freakin’ opt-in Ad server on the planet, these people are agreeing to follow companies just to get ads pushed at them.”

As expected, and rightfully so, Albert sides with the fuzzy-wuzzy Social Media zealot, protesting this marketer’s mindset with talk of Twitter as “idea exchange, social hang-out,” etc.

But, really, what’s wrong with using Twitter as an opt-in ad server?  A 140–character advertisement, no silly graphics, just the straight-out offer, from my favorite brands…?  I don’t see the harm.  Plus, only those who opt-in to receive the ads would see them: the ads wouldn’t impinge on our Twitter friends’ own tweetstreams.

I dig it.  As long as the offers or notices were infrequent and of-interest … if they were too frequent, of low-value, or annoying, I could “unfollow” ‘em with a click. 

Certainly Dell’s gotten lots of credit, of late, for getting it right with Social Media; their @DellOutlet Twitter presence has been hailed as a pioneering attempt. 

As a die-hard Twitter junkie, am I too quick to cede ground to the marketeers? 

As a marketer yourself, do you see the opportunity here?  Would you be able to walk the line?

Posted on: December 13, 2007 at 6:17 pm By Todd Defren
6 Responses to “Twitter Offers An Advertising Model”


  • James Gerber says:

    I agree that Twitter offers a lot of potential for marketers. I can envision a usage of it where people sign up for a company’s Twitter account and then get targeted special deals on the spot, on interested users phones in text (such as a text to a Bostonian who wants a widget “Show this Tweet at the register anywhere in Boston and get 10% off the widget within the next hour!”)…

    it would seem mutually beneficial for both consumers and companies alike. It could create a non-invasive way for companies to promote themselves to their users in real-time. However, a lot of care needs to be taken to make sure it really is opt-in, and that their efforts are sufficiently targeted. Otherwise, it will do more harm than good…

  • Mihnea says:

    Hey, as long as it doesn’t make you accidentally send out an invitation to all of your friends once you’re on, it’s got to be worth it.

    I’m testing it on a program as well, and it seems to be working just fine. Thing is, Romanians haven’t really started massively using Twitter just yet, but all in due time, I guess.

    So yes, I think it could work. And it also gets a big plus for credibility.

  • Dr.Mani says:

    Nice thought. I had the idea of using Twitter to deliver a mini-ezine (tid-bits, and links to longer articles or op-ed pieces).

    Using it to deliver ads and coupons alone seems a neat twist – and in combination with content updates, could become one more channel (more reliable than email?) for e-publishers to add to their arsenal.

    All success

  • John Cass says:

    You don’t have to follow. I like the idea. I heard about it at the SNCR conference when the chap from Dell described his use of the service. It reminded me of the downloadable desktop software provided by Southwest Airlines. The airline provides updates on special pricing and have sold millions of dollars worth of tickets through the software.

  • Henre says:

    Yeah Todd, I agree with you here. Twitter is a great opt-in mechanism and I wouldn’t mind viewing textual ads from cool brands.

    I don’t see too many many “consumers” using twitter though. It seems to be a marketer’s toy much like the (over)hyped RSS feeds.

    These are all fantastic ideas, but until we get consumers to engage in this the conversation will mostly be among our own.

    At least this is my point of view in South Africa. We’re slightly behind and the US and Europe consumer base might have caught on well.

    Did they?

  • Kevin Dill says:

    Nice post. Opportunists eventually come into any social arena. But that’s what makes it interesting and monetizable.

    Myself and some friends have been playing around with development of Clippl to take text messaging into the multimedia realm.

    Clippl is being created to essentially solve the cross-platform compatibilities of cell phone multimedia messaging.

    I see lots of opportunists jumping on this in the future.

Show some social media love would ya?

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