Yesterday Twitter unveiled a major milestone in its monetization strategy: Promoted Tweets. Smart folks like Peter Kim, Jeremiah Owyang, John Battelle and Steve Rubel are already on record with some initial, smart reactions.
While TechCrunch reports that initial response among users is pretty negative, I am inclined to give Twitter the benefit of the doubt: in fact, I think they approached this advertising platform with unusual degrees of thoughtfulness. The Resonance factor in particular is well-considered and intriguing; it could become a model for relevance scoring as the real-time Web grows. See this AllThingsD liveblog of the announcement by Peter Kafka for a nice round-up.
What will Promoted Tweets mean for Marketing?
This is yet another mile marker for marketing via Social Media. Maybe it’s too early to be thinking like this, and maybe I am just groggy from x-country travel and too-little sleep, but I think Twitter’s Promoted Tweets platform conceivably offers TWO COMPELLING BREAKTHROUGHS.
BREAKTHROUGH #1: “REAL-TIME” MARKETING.
Obviously it will be cool, reasonable, and effective for a brand like Starbucks or Quiznos (client) to ensure that anyone who searches for “coffee” or “lunch” sees a Promoted Tweet, especially if it’s tied to a promotion. “Click here for a coupon you can bring to the store for $1 off your purchase.”
The fact that such an offer can now “float atop the stream” – as in, not get lost in it! – is compelling. It will be even more impactful if those Promoted Tweets can be based on time-of-day: if that Quiznos tweet is only viewable within a 3 hour window, and/or the coupon is only usable til 4pm, it might get re-tweeted more hurriedly (achieving more Resonance) and cashed-in more frenziedly: We are talking about REAL-TIME MARKETING here, people.
While obviously these tweets should not be too spammy, overwrought nor cheesey, rest assured that this approach will be a big part of the grand experiment.
BREAKTHROUGH #2: REPUTATION MANAGEMENT.
This is where I believe Promoted Tweets will shine, more so than anticipated. Think back to the Dominos Crisis of last year (it was actually a year ago this week!) … If Promoted Tweets had existed at that point, the company’s official reactions and mea-culpas in the following days could have been promoted, and would have achieved a permanent “above the stream” status during those challenging days.
One of the tough things about using Twitter, when you’re a brand in a crisis, is the frenzied responsiveness required. The official corporate stream can become a mishmash of responses to thousands of users, which are incomprehensible (and frankly boring) to everyone else following the handle.
How often can we see a brand say something to the effect of, “Thanks for the feedback, @username, we’re working on it!” before we tire of the Reputation Management Madness?
But Promoted Tweets allows a brand some BREATHING ROOM. The Twitter wranglers can rest assured that while they are frantically monitoring and dealing with individual users, their OFFICIAL RESPONSE will continue to float above the stream for anyone who happens to search for their brand due to the crisis. And brand supporters can re-tweet that official response much more easily and readily, which serves to keep it “resonating” and alive.
Once the crisis settles, a brand might elect to spend its “Promoted Tweeting” budget in boosting the tweets of its supporters. I can readily see some brand enthusiasts vying for the “badge” of having had one of their tweets officially promoted by their favorite brands. “Look, Ma, Starbucks promoted my tweet! I am practically famous!”
Compelling stuff. Tread carefully into this garden for now — it is still very early and there could be some points that I am fuzzy on. For example, if you endeavor to use promotions for real-time marketing, you might need to worry about what happens when that “short-term” tweet is indexed in perpetuity by Google!
But take it seriously. Experiment.
Posted on: April 14, 2010 at 9:14 am By Todd Defren