Twitter as an Advertising Platform?

Photo Credit: carrotcreative via Flickr

Today I read (via TechCrunch) that Twitter might be revealing its advertising platform at this year’s SXSW, calling the platform “fascinating” and “non-traditional”. To be honest, I’m not totally sure about this. Yes, Facebook has advertising and its been working out fairly well for them. But I wonder, with Twitter’s micro-blogging setup, will it be as easy to integrate advertising?

Currently, there are different services through Twitter where you can advertise, including SponsoredTweets and SocialSpark. There is even a service called Ad.ly in which celebrities can tweet about a product or brand along with a link for followers to click. It is shown that the link it from Ad.ly and it will say that the tweet was sent from the Ad.ly platform. Although at times this way seem deceptive, if you know what you’re looking for, the patform is fairly genius. It’s an interesting way to integrate advertising and social media.

In a few of my classes, my professors have talked about how difficult it is to integrate traditional means of advertising and social media. When you think about it, originally, social media was about networking and building friendships – not a way to build brand loyalty. It just developed through conversation. In a way, these attempts at Twitter advertising could still be messing with the original purposes of the site.

Some think that Twitter advertising could be insanely successful. In all honesty, my mind isn’t made up. A company’s goal is to make money and one of the ways they can do that is through advertising and sponsorship.

In my opinion, in order for these endeavors to succeed, it needs to do two things:

  1. Be honest – let people know that it’s advertising. Some people think that sponsored tweeting can be deceptive and mislead people if they aren’t well informed. People need to know the difference between real content and advertising or when they learn the truth, it can cause a feeling of alienation.
  2. Target, target, target – I’m a 19 year-old girl. I don’t want to be getting advertising for erection pills and Botox. Show me brands that I’m interested in or a brand that could possibly connect with me. They need to find a way to specifically target people based on their location, demographics and content. Otherwise, it’ll all just feel like spam and no one wants that.

Ultimately, it’s up to the brains behind Twitter to make any final decisions. I personally wouldn’t mind advertising via Twitter, it just needs to be done in the correct way. Otherwise, some of my fellow Twitter-ers may be unhappy.

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