Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Twitter As an Ad Platform :: Can It Tap Into the Brand Constellations We Surround Ourselves With?

Image:: Social Media & Brand Environment, from Seth Goldstein's Ad 2.0 PowerPoint,
IAB Leadership Meeting in Carlsbad, CA

There's been a lot of talk about Twitter launching its ad platform in the near future. I'm rather curious how this plays out. I agree with this Mashable article that says Twitter ads need to not be interrupting of the social flow. The above is an example of how a virtual brandscape can merge social media and geotagging, allowing the brand to have localized interactions using the web. The technology can be used to build brand community and foster brand conversations at a more localized geographic level.

How will a Twitter-based platform work with brand conversations? This MediaPost article discusses how Anamitra Banerji, head of product management and monetization at Twitter, outlines some of the possibilities around Twitter as an ad platform. There's concern about trust and ads {paid content} being clearly labelled as such, with hashtags {#} being a workaround. There was also talk of the ads being relevant and useful, so good contextual advertising springs to mind. 

Here's some issues for consideration::
  1. Can brands realistically engage in real-time conversations with users/consumers?
  2. What are the limits of such interactions?
  3. Can user-generated Tweet ads work without seeming intrusive?
  4. Should Twitter consider focusing on a contextual ad strategy like Facebook?
  5. How can Twitter leverage its ad platform to users using third-party applications or SMS?
Anamitra is right in that Twitter is a platform and I can see why brand managers would like harness the energy of user-driven Tweets as a selling and engagement tool, but I see the value of Twitter as an ad platform being a way to create virtual brand communities that people identify with.

I think people surround themselves with a constellation of brands, which anthropologist, Grant McCracken, would deem as Diderot unities. The brands that people surround themselves with help to give them identity and meaning. The same could be said for the avoidance of certain brands. The question is can Twitter foster authentic conversations based on people's everyday lives lived through brands and instil a sense of brand community? 

I can see the eyerolling already with the brand-inspired Twitter talk by metrosexuals and "Sex & the City" disciples, oozing blatherings about fashion brands and the perfect vodka to mix the perfect drinks with. These conversations are being had, but can they be focused to create a virtual community around the brand. Of course, this need not be limited to things to buy, but ideas and causes, such as political parties and organizations like Médicins sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders.

Twitterversion:: Talk of #Twitter as ad pltfrm, but can it realistically engage usrs/tap into brand constellations we define ourselves w/? @Prof_K

Song:: The Constellations-"December"


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