Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Will Twitter Be Ruined by the Presence of Paid-For Ads?

Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Will Twitter Be Ruined by the Presence of Paid-For Ads?

Article excerpt

The microblog is fine-tuning its plans to offer brands paid-for text ad spaces. These will use the site's 140-character format around real-time search results, but will not appear within Twitter feeds.

NO - TONY EFFIK, Chief strategy officer, Publicis Modem; chair, IAB social media council

Ads will benefit Twitter. Last November, it changed its key question from 'What are you doing?' to 'What's happening?' The answers form a unique searchable database. Twitter is a real-time search engine - the fastest and most relevant way of finding out what's going on right now This forces Google - worth pounds 114bn - to reappraise its strategy High stakes indeed.

Twitter knows that in the past, brands like Yahoo! got it wrong, by over-commercialising their online real estate and not balancing user and business needs. Google launched as its antithesis and honed its design, shunning banners for pay-per-click text ads. Discrete sponsored links are now an accepted part of the visual language of search.

Each web innovation creates a fresh generation of purists who gradually or grudgingly accept mainstream commercialisation. This is no exception.

Twitter has learned from its predecessors. It will emerge more useful, and the incremental income should fuel a new wave of innovation.

NO - MIKE COLLING, Managing director, MC&C

Unlike conventional search engines, people use Twitter to share information. They aren't in a search mindset. As a result, it may be difficult to get people to read and respond to ads in sufficient numbers to deliver a return.

In its current form, this amounts to a pretty limited opportunity for brands, so what can Twitter do to strengthen this offering? Targeting is part of the answer. Twitter already holds a lot of important data - language, time zone, location, biographical information - all of which could be used for targeting.

It could also target people using semantics, the profiles and behaviours of people being followed, topic trends, and even tweet content itself.

Twitter's commercial strategy has potential, but success will depend on how it is delivered. Moreover, many Twitter users access the service via mobile phones, which can be an unfriendly environment for advertising.

Until brands are reassured the concept has been seriously thought through, the jury remains out.

NO - IAN BILLINGTON, Managing partner, Billington Cartmell

They said that radio would be ruined by advertising; in fact they said that about everything. …

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