helping brands make perfect sense of social media, from IAB UK’s social media council

By Katie Streten, Imagination

There is a lot of discussion on blogs and in social media generally about Twitters slow and careful inching towards a revenue model. Most of the thought is that it will take the tried and tested advertising approach, and after all, it has worked well for Facebook so there is no reason Twitter wouldn’t benefit in a similar way. Twitter has a simple mechanic that allows trend and conversation tracking and the potential is that this will deliver the possibility of highly targeted advertising from brands in much the same way that Facebook does. The key difference between the two would be that Facebook’s advertising is based on the demographic and life stage data their users provide the network with and Twitter’s would focus not on demographics but on moments of interest, conversations. And in fact Twitter’s ability to model and deliver based on conversation would be far more powerful than Facebook’s model – after all, simply because I am a 45 year old mother of three doesn’t mean I am not going to be highly interested in paintballing in the New Forest, and yet this may only be the interest of a weekend, a day, an hour. Identity is more fluid than demographics allow and the ability to talk to users in real time moments of decision would be incredibly powerful for any advertiser.

But what about the network – will they desert in droves? Black ball the site? I would say, no. Advertising is an accepted model for funding media that we love and want to continue to engage with. What users will do however is completely ignore anything that is irrelevant to them, or badly written and unclear. They will appreciate wit, and humanity. Essentially the same characteristics that make brands a success on Twitter as personalities will also make their advertisements viable.

One thing is certain, Twitter needs a revenue model of some kind and advertisers need ever more granular ways of reaching sophisticated, fragmented audiences. An advertising solution on Twitter might be a powerful option.

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