Tag Archives: Twitter advertising

Twitter execs: PLEASE start accepting ads

In case any of you hadn’t noticed, there’s been something of a civil war on Twitter over the issue of whether advertising should exist there. There’s a lot of finger pointing going on, and a lot of people who seem convinced that they possess the ultimate truth as to how Twitter advertising should work. As far as I can tell, no one will win, a lot of hurt feelings will result, and Twitter will lose some of the irreplaceable camraderie which has made it what it is.

This is why I’m begging, in all seriousness: Please, Biz, Jack and Evan, take this process over and impose an advertising format that works for all before people start rolling out cannons. You may not see advertising as the future of Twitter, but unless you impose some rules on the unruly, it will become the spam-choked Hotmail of new communications platforms.

Yes, I know Twitter, and the myriad of applications leveraging your system, have rolled out naturally and freely with a chaotic zest Timothy Leary would have admired. But now, things aren’t quite so new any more. And I’m telling youyour baby’s in danger unless you put the ad fights to rest once and for all.

Right now, I’d say there’s roughly three groups throwing snowballs at each other:

* First, there’s the Twitizens who believe that no ads should ever invade its sacred soil, and have sworn mighty oaths that they’ll “unfolllow” (the dread punishment of no longer reading a person’s postings) anyone who brings the commercial breath of Mordor to their land. (OK, I admit it, I saw some of the Lord of the Rings trilogy this weekend. But anyway…)

* Another group is at least tolerant of Twitter ad experimentation. (Perhaps they’re remembering how much experimentation it took to get Web and e-mail advertising formats worked out and cutting pioneers some slack?) These folks may not love the idea of being pitched in Twitterspace, but they’re not ready to boot anyone who tries, either.

* Then, there are those who want, at least as a market research experiment, to try out some ad formats on this amazingly well-connected, thoughtful and educated audience, and have no problem enduring what feels like spam for a time as we figure things out.

Some of us (and I consider myself such an experimenter ) want to see how the dynamics of new platforms like Magpie, Adjix and TwittAd actually work. Others, like @madmoneyblogger, actually seem to believe that they can accumulate some real cash this way.

While the various factions try to be civil, I don’t think peace is going to last much longer. So please, brilliant young men behind Twitter, accept that while open source models can work wonders–even in a social setting–sometimes you’ve just got to lay down the law.

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Great idea for connecting with your Twitter followers

Now here’s an idea that makes sense not only for Twitter, but also for other forms of social media (including blogs, social networks and bookmarking sites). I love it — not only does it provide great information for the marketer, it also builds a sense of community in the process. Great stuff!

What’s got me stirred up is a site mounted by Eric Miltsch of car dealer AuctionDirect. The site, Tweet and Greet, challenges Miltsch’s Twitter followers to answer 10 quick questions about cars.

The results Miltsch gets are entertaining, revealing and most importantly, memorable. Not only that, the survey is likely to engage rather than frustrate users. As ProBlogger Darren Rowse notes, the odd thing is that people tend to be more committed to your product when you ask them to do some work.

Readers, what’s your favorite technique for learning more about your social media followers and fans? Have you ever built a campaign around information gathered from social media-based research? — Anne

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Measuring social media value–it IS possible

Make no mistake, we’re well past the point where social media marketing is optional–despite what some of our clients and bosses say.

The most recent evidence for this comes from The Society for New Communications Research, whose recent report notes that fifty-seven percent of this group of early social media adopters reported that social media tools are becoming more valuable to their activities. (The report is definitely worth a read.)

One major problem, however, is that the Internet marketing business hasn’t developed a standard way of measuring social media marketing performance which is accepted by its own top honchos (much less clients). So it’s time to pick some standards of our own.

The following is my attempt to come up with some principles, and specific metrics, we can use to decide whether our social media efforts are working to promote. I look forward to your suggestions! – Anne

Social media measurement standards

* Length of stay for visitors referred by social media

Visitors who come to your site through social media promotions may have a different profile than those who arrive through other means. I believe it’s important to find out how they differ from site averages, particularly in terms of length of stay (as a proxy for their level of interest).

* Number of followers/fans on various networks

I sort of dislike this one, as you can have tons of lurkers clicking through on your Facebook fan page or Ning group, while not having too many who agree to sign up. Still, it’s worth taking into account, not as a sign of whether you’re successful but a sense of how given community’s reacting to your message.

* Number of comments/questions made directly to the company rep doing the social media marketing

OK, if social media marketing involves talking with, not at, the audiences you’re hoping to reach, that involves joining a community. One very crude way of looking whether people see you as a member is how many comments and questions they’ve made addressing you.

* Extent to which your social media efforts have brought new assets into your business

If social media marketing is more joining a community (e.g. networking) than making a pitch, then such networking should bear fruit. In one project, for example, I found several potential business partners and a freelance contributor within a couple of weeks of putting it out there.

* Extent to which you’ve concretely raised awareness of your service/product within the community

If you’re on a social networking site, and you see someone say “I know about X because the company’s rep told me so directly on Twitter,” you’re definitely on the right track. You can be pretty confident that someone will visit your site and, if it’s otherwise in good shape, convert into a dedicated customer.

* Frequency with which your brand is mentioned on key sites

As with the number of followers/fans you attract, this is a very tricky way to measure the effectiveness as your marketing, as there’s a million offline methods by which people can discuss your site. Still, keeping track of comments (using, say, TweetScan for Twitter or general search for MySpace and Facebook) certainly offers useful context.

Next: Get more simple, powerful approaches to measuring social media here.

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Twitter ‘spam’ threat leads to paranoia

Folks, I’ve tried to stay out of this, as I know my opinion isn’t popular, but I just can’t take it any more. Over the last few weeks, I’ve increasingly seen the term “spammer” used to describe some users on Twitter. That’s true despite the fact that you’ll never see a single tweet (post) unless you choose to follow that person, and moreoever, that nobody can even follow you unless you give permission. In my view, the whole thing is paranoid almost beyond belief.

Sure, it’s annoying to get e-mail notifications that someone is following you if you don’t consider the follower to be welcome. And yes, I can imagine a world in which we Twitter users (I’m @annezieger) are swamped with thousands of followers, which effectively translates into e-mail spam since the notifications land in our inbox. (I do hope Twitter’s management is prepared for that eventuality, and has tough enough security in place to prevent mass follows by creepy folks.) So I understand why people are concerned.

That being said, why on earth has a segment of the Twitter community decided that virtually any follows by corporate Twitterers (say, @JetBlue) constitute spamming?

What right has any one segment of the Twitterati to decide that they, alone, know how many people you should follow and how many must follow you if you’re to be a “legit” Twitter user? (What, you didn’t know that the Twitter clique plans to ostracize you if you follow too many folks and they don’t follow back? Well, guess what, they do.)

And how dare some self-appointed zealot(s) create a Twitter “blacklist” which purports to protect me from undesirables? I’m quite offended by the idea. OK, I realize that some people are thrilled to ‘make the list’ and dub it a piece of cheap PR for them, but I doubt the list’s creators had that in mind.

You know, we went through this whole thing almost 15 years ago or so when the Internet started being swamped by commercial interests. (Remember Canter & Siegel spamming Usenet in 1994?) People went insane and started turning on each other in much the same way we’re seeing today–and look how effective that was! E-mail spam disappeared for good, right? (Uh, not exactly.)

Haven’t we learned anything from the experiences of the last decade and a half? If the first wave of spam showed us anything, it taught us that you can’t change a medium by lashing out at people who use it in ways you don’t approve of–it’s a waste of time and often, changes the character of the medium in ways that do significant damage.

Please, please, let’s be smarter when it comes to Twitter? — Anne

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Twitter advertising models emerging, quickly

Well, it was inevitable–but I’ve got to say that I’m a bit surprised at how fast things are moving. While it’s still very early in the game, it looks like advertising and marketing activities are beginning to creep onto Twitter.

As regular readers of this blog know, I believe that Twitter can support advertising without ruining the experience. That doesn’t mean, however, that all models are equal. As in any other Net medium, spam is a pain, and reports are already surfacing of spammy advertisers following people. On the other hand, I do think Mashable‘s story, headlined “Twitter Spam Spirals Out of Control,” goes a bit overboard, as I, for one, haven’t attracted any spam followers yet.

More interesting than the spammers, by far, is the eBay auction by Twitter user @andrewbaron, who’s selling off his Twitter account and nearly 1,400 followers. With nearly a week left to go on the auction, Baron has already attracted 40 bidders. What’s more, the bids have now topped $1,500–valuing the followers at more than $1 each. While Baron doesn’t describe his follower list as a marketing opportunity, I’m doubting the people bidding on it see it as anything but that.

Then, you have rumors floating around that Twitter has begun testing out short advertising messages of its own over the past few days, allegedly within friend feeds. The company roundly denies this, and execs may be telling the truth, but it does seem likely that Twitter will need to try something like this fairly soon, as it’s currently not making money despite its smash success with users.

As for me, I’m enjoying the innocent, ad-free days of Twitter, but I’ll be OK with it when those days end. I suppose it’s possible that Twitter will monetize its users some other way, but advertising is so dead-on obvious a play that it seems inevitable.

You know, I never thought an ad medium would develop which makes PPC ads seem like novels. Writing for tiny Twitter spaces is going to be an art form all its own. — Anne

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