Could Twitter become the “must-buy” ad platform of the future? It’s not going to happen next week, but The New York Times says that Twitter is gearing up in hopes of becoming more than a fast blip on the radar. Many feel that the act of promoting Dick Costolo from COO to CEO is a sign of things to come. The article also notes that Twitter has a group of employees working on advertising instead of just one. But interest in becoming a sought after ad platform isn’t enough to make it so.
NYT quotes Ian Schafter of Deep Focus as saying;
“Agencies are uneducated, brands are uneducated and to a certain extent, Twitter is uneducated. There are no best practices. There are just hunches about what will work.”
Last week, Costolo spoke at the Advertising Week annual conference and he was confident that Twitter had the formula down for making it work. Seeing as how the @earlybird program was abandoned shortly after it began, one has to wonder.
Whether or not they’ve figured out the secret to making Twitter ads work, Twitter has gone from six advertisers to forty and Costolo says they expect to more than double that number by the end of the year.
In addition to the Promoted Accounts, which we talked about here last week, Twitter is also working on a self-serve tool for local business. The lack of geo-location targeting has been an issue for the social media site making it a much more effective tool for global brands than local restaurants, but Costolo says that they’re working on a way to scan tweets for location clues that will help them match up customers and clients.
The Promoted Tweets program is going well-ish.
“According to Twitter, on average 5 percent of people who see Promoted Tweets are clicking on, replying to or forwarding the ads — much higher than the less than 1 percent of people who click on a typical display ad.”
This increase in clicks comes from the natural behavior that surrounds Twitter. It’s designed to get people to click, forward and reply to links, unlike display ads which a large segment of the population have learned to ignore.
So we all agree that Twitter can be an effective marketing tool, but why pay for it? Most big brands have their own Twitter account and use it to keep up a conversation with customers. Is paying for a promoted tweet going to be better than what they’re pushing on a free account?
If you believe Costolo, the answer is yes. He says that the demand is bigger than their ability to handle it all at this point. Because of this, they’ve hired sales execs from Google and Facebook and a former Fox advertising exec to help move things along.
If Facebook is the model, then Twitter should have a bright future in paid advertising. But will it be the “must-buy” ad 2011? What do you think? Would you pay to have your ad on Twitter?