By Mike Stiles on Apr 11, 2014
Reality check: like Facebook, Twitter has to make money. And in the absence of charging users a subscription fee to use it, that money has to come from Twitter advertising.
The profitless Twitter makes most of its revenue from advertising, $219.6 million in Q4, which doubles the previous year’s numbers. So it occurred to them that if they offered you marketers more advertising products and options, that number would only go higher.
Enter 15, count ‘em, 15 new ad plays that will be coming your way from Twitter over the next 6 months. And from the reports so far, if your goals are downloads, subscriptions, or purchases, these products will speak more to your needs than existing offerings.
Expect most of these products to be fueled by the Twitter Card technology, which allows functionality to be programmed into tweets. This allows for a world of one-click calls-to-action not possible in regular tweets, which, given the speed and immediacy with which people use the platform, is almost a must to capture desired engagement. Users can download an app, get someone on the phone, make a purchase, sign up for a contest, etc.
But the big question: will Twitter users think these are cool opportunities? Or will they see them as highly intrusive, annoying ads? That depends a great deal on what you do.
Twitter hasn’t really upped the ad content since their first product in 2010, and that’s because they’ve been pretty diligent about the user experience. So far their ad products have not done damage, but these new 15 do represent risk. As it is, a Deutsche Bank Securities report showed 85% of users said the ads they get aren’t relevant.
So Twitter and you marketers are about to jump into the unknown together. These ads must be targeted and relevant. They must be served up at just the right rate. And they must be of quality; meaning what it always means for content - it entertains, it informs, or it offers something of real value. Put out flops and you inflict damage to both Twitter and your brand.
In short, when it comes to Twitter advertising you’re about to pay to get your content in front of more user eyeballs, and in so doing you’re placing a bet that said content is going to be appreciated and welcomed, not a user experience downer.