Twitter to serve up ads


twitter logo thumb1 Twitter to serve up adsTwitter will begin placing advertisements known as ‘Promoted Tweets’ in the timelines of users who follow a particular brand or company.

Twitter said it will begin testing the new advertising offering with a number of companies including Dell, Gatorade, Groupon, JetBlue, LivingSocial, Microsoft, Red Bull, Starbucks and Virgin America.

Promoted Tweets from non-profits such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the American Red Cross will also be shown, the San Francisco-based Twitter said in a blog post.

‘When we decide to follow a favourite brand, business or charitable organisation, we expect to be among the first to get a special announcement, access to exclusive content or a great offer,’ Twitter said.

‘That’s why starting today, we’re introducing a way to ensure that the most important tweets from the organisations you follow reach you directly,’ it said.

Twitter has enjoyed explosive growth since it was founded in 2006 but it is unclear how successful it has been in translating its popularity into profit.

Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo, speaking at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colorado, last week declined to reveal whether the privately held company is profitable.

But he said the number of advertisers on the platform is up 600 per cent this year over last year, when it numbered in the hundreds.

Twitter said the new advertising scheme will involve placing ‘Promoted Tweets’ from accounts that a user follows ‘at or near the top’ of their timeline, or stream of messages, when a user logs in.

‘These Promoted Tweets will scroll through the timeline like any other tweet, and like regular tweets, they will appear in your timeline just once,’ Twitter said.

‘Promoted Tweets can also be easily dismissed from your timeline with a single click,’ Twitter added.

The advertiser-sponsored tweets will only be shown on the accounts of users of the website, not the scores of third-party applications used to access the service.

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Twitter users send 200mn tweets a day


twitter logo thumb Twitter users send 200mn tweets a dayTwitter users are sending 200 million tweets a day, up from 65 million a year ago, the micro-blogging service says.

‘For context on the speed of Twitter’s growth, in January of 2009, users sent two million tweets a day,’ Twitter said in a blog post on Thursday.

The San Francisco-based Twitter was founded in 2006. It has more than 200 million users.

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 13 per cent of the online US adults aged 18 and older use Twitter, up from eight per cent in November 2010.

tt twitter micro3 Twitter users send 200mn tweets a day

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Twitter Users Want Businesses to Answer Them


Social sites like Quora are designed specifically as question-and-answer venues where users can get expert help, but Twitter often serves as an informal tool for the same purpose. Users might ask their followers for advice, ask the world what a particular trending topic means, or hope for customer service help from a brand.

According to May 2011 research from InboxQ, a service to feed businesses questions from Twitter, Twitter users—especially ones with more followers and thus, presumably, more experience—tend to ask questions with tweets directed at all followers rather than using @ replies or direct messages. This means questions are often not directed at a relevant brand, but many users want brands to answer them anyway.

Eight in 10 Twitter users surveyed worldwide said they thought the answers businesses posted on Twitter were at least as trustworthy as those from regular people, and about six in 10 said they wanted businesses to respond to them on the microblogging service.

Yet just 21% of Twitter users with under 100 followers and 41% of users with over 100 followers said they had actually received a response from a business via Twitter.

Users indicated that more responsive brands would benefit from greater loyalty and purchasing. Almost 60% of respondents said they would be more likely to follow a brand that answered them, and 64% said they would be more likely to make a purchase from that brand.

InboxQ may have an interest in getting businesses to pay attention to questions posted to Twitter, but this research meshes with an already robust body of data about the kinds of interactions many social media users hope to have with brands. Consumers often indicate that they understand and accept the value exchange of connecting with companies in return for information that can help them. And they also often want brands to pay attention to them and not take their business for granted now that they have access to the powerful voice social media provides.

tt twitter micro3 Twitter Users Want Businesses to Answer Them

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McDonald’s denounces racist twitter hoax


mcdonalds thumb McDonalds denounces racist twitter hoaxMcDonald’s has found itself in serious damage control after the circulation of a discriminative image on the internet.

The photograph appeared on Twitter on the weekend and shows a hoax sign that was allegedly posted on a McDonald’s staff notice board.

The sign says an insurance measure due in part to a recent string of robberies African American customers are now required to pay an additional fee of $1.50 per transaction.

McDonald’s have posted a tweet on their Twitter account denouncing the hoax.

tt twitter micro3 McDonalds denounces racist twitter hoax

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Legal action against Twitter


twitter logo thumb Legal action against TwitterAn English local authority said on Sunday it had taken US micro-blogging site Twitter to court in California and forced it to release the details of a British user.

South Tyneside Council, in northeast England, took the legal action in a bid to discover the identity of a blogger behind allegedly libellous statements.

The blogger, known as ‘Mr Monkey’, has levelled a stream of criticism and allegations against councillors and council officers.

A council spokesman confirmed Twitter had released information after they took the case to the Superior Court of California.

‘Twitter have released information to our lawyers and this is currently being analysed by technical experts,’ the spokesman told AFP.

Twitter was not immediately available for comment but a spokesman told the BBC: ‘We cannot comment on any specific order or request.

‘As noted in our law enforcement guidelines, it is our policy to notify our users before disclosure of account information.’

The South Tyneside Council spokesman added: ‘This legal action was initiated by the council’s previous chief executive and has continued with the full support of the council’s current chief executive.

‘The council has a duty of care to protect its employees and as this blog contains damaging claims about council officers, legal action is being taken to identify those responsible.’

The latest controversy came a week after a Premier League footballer began proceedings against the website when a blogger identified him as the player who had taken out an injunction banning the media from exposing an alleged affair.

A Liberal Democrat MP later used his parliamentary privilege to name the player as Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs.

tt twitter micro3 Legal action against Twitter

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A Look at the True Twitter Audience


Reports of Twitter usage can vary widely. The company itself reported that as of September 2010, 175 million accounts had been created. Firms that track unique visitors to tallied between approximately 20 million and 26 million per month last year.

But because of duplicate accounts, international users, “Twitter quitters” and the fact that many visitors to are simply reading public tweets and not truly using the service, those numbers are nearly all higher than survey data that asks internet users about their online and mobile habits.

“Twitter users are a sizeable and growing bunch, but their numbers are considerably smaller than those disseminated by many media outlets and Twitter itself,” said Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, “Twitter Users: A Vocal Minority.” “In the US, this means tens of millions of users, as opposed to hundreds of millions.”

eMarketer estimates that 20.6 million US adults will access a Twitter account at least monthly this year, up 26.3% from 16.4 million last year. Growth will continue in the double digits through 2013, when nearly 28 million adults will be Twitter users.

This estimate is primarily based on a meta-analysis of surveys that polled people on their actual use of Twitter, regardless of platform.

A demographic profile of Twitter users from the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 10% of US female internet users and 7% of US male internet users used Twitter. The service was decidedly more popular among younger adults, a result supported by other research.

Mobile is a large and growing platform for Twitter users. comScore noted that in January 2011, 7.8 million US mobile device subscribers used Twitter on their phones—a steep 66% increase over the previous January.

“Brands should consider the demographics and usage habits of the Twitter audience as they plan marketing initiatives and ad buys on Twitter,” said Verna. “Setting realistic expectations based on a thorough data analysis will yield better results than getting swept up in overhyped estimates.”

tt twitter micro3 A Look at the True Twitter Audience

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Auto Thank You Messages & Twitter


Thank YouSearching the web recently keeping up with the goings on with social media, I came across an article by a self proclaimed social media guru on the subject of auto thank you messages on Twitter.

These are messages that you can send out automatically to thank someone who decides to follow you. I’ve had them programmed on my Twitter accounts for ages now and what surprised me was this guru stating in his article that if he receives one of these auto thank you messages he automatically un-follows the company or person. He says it annoys him, oh really you poor dear, I think you’re forgetting that the whole concept of social media is being social.

In my mind, it is just a polite way of acknowledging the follow and as long as the message does not contain a blatant add or sales pitch, I have no problem with these messages at all.

This guru’s belief is that common courtesy rules, apparently don’t apply to social media marketing, well he’s wrong, because I think they do and I will continue to send out my messages to those that do decide to follow me, and by chance if this social media expert is offended by this, then goodbye.

Being social and communicating and connecting with your followers is the essence of social media and I won’t decide to follow or un-follow someone because they sent me an auto thank you message.

That’s just too ridiculous for words, and I wonder if this guy is consulting to companies on social media strategy, what he is advising his clients to do, I just hope he’s not working for you.

There are a lot of instant social media experts around today, and most of them don’t really have a clue.

Decide who you are going to follow by the quality of information they are providing, how interesting and unique it is and if it is informative and relevant.

Oh and if they happen to send you a thank you message for the follow, then that’s good manners.

Remember, Focus on being social not doing social.

Twitter Video Streams Watched for 2 Mins


twitter3-logo1The average online video stream discovered on the Twitter social network is viewed for two minutes and seven seconds , according to a new study from TubeMogul, Brightcove, and DynamicLogic.

Twitter Beats Yahoo, Facebook

Comparing the average viewing time of 103,731,006 random video streams discovered on several leading social networks and search engines, “Online Video Best Practices” finds that the average video stream sourced via Twitter is viewed for two minutes and seven seconds. No other social network or search engine analyzed broke the two-minute mark.

Search engine Yahoo followed with an average viewing time of one minute and 54 seconds, closely trailed by social network Facebook with an average viewing time of one minute and 50 seconds. Search engines Google (1:27) and Bing (1:09) had significantly shorter average online video viewing times.

Online Videos Have Short Shelf Life


Analyzing the average 90-day viewing lifecycle of an online video, the study finds the average online video receives half its 90-day online view total in the first six days, and 75% in the first 20 days.

The shelf life of online videos has dropped dramatically since 2008, when it took the average online video took two weeks to get half its 90-day view total and 44 days to reach 75%.

Repurposed, Made-for-Web Ads Have Different Strengths


There is no one superior production format, it turns out; repurposed TV spots typically result in higher impact on awareness metrics, while made-for-web video content more ably persuades its viewers.

More specifically, repurposed TV ads are slightly better at raising brand awareness (affect 2% of viewers compared to 1.9%) and message association (2.2% compared to 2.1%), and affect a moderately higher percentage of viewers in terms of online ad awareness (4.7% compared to 4.3%).

Meanwhile, made-for-web ads outperform repurposed TV ads in brand favorability (1.6% compared to 1.2%) and purchase intent (1.4% compared to 0.8%).

Custom Content Boosts Purchase Intent Among 18-34-Yr-Olds


Comparing the affect of repurposed TV and made-for-web content on viewers of different ages, the study finds that purchase intent among 18-to-34-year-olds who view made-for-web content (2.8%) dwarfs purchase intent for either type of content among any age group. This percentage is more than double the next-highest purchase intent rate, 1.1% of 18-to-34-year-olds exposed to repurposed TV content.

This age group also has significantly higher online ad awareness from viewing made-for-web content (5.9%) than any other online ad awareness score, although nowhere near double the amount. The highest brand favorability score is among 35-to-49-year-olds who view made-for-web content (2%), while brand awareness is highest among 35-to-49-year-olds exposed to repurposed TV content (3.3%).

8 in 10 Marketers Using Online Video Seek Higher Engagement

Close to 80% of marketers using online video on their sites do so to increase visitor engagement, or time spent, according to other study results. This is by far the most popular reason. Another 60% use online video to strengthen their brand, and almost 60% use online video to increase overall visitors (more than one answer was permissable).

No other reason garnered as much as a 40% response rate. Approximately 30% of respondents said they use online video on their sites to increase available ad inventory.

When Eyeballs and Dollars Don’t Match Up

No one can be faulted for thinking that the size of someone’s Facebook friends list is a proxy for that person’s level of influence. After all, people who are influential are often also popular, and in a Facebook and Twitter world popularity is measured in friends and followers.

But a new report from Vocus and FutureWorks principal Brian Solis throws a healthy dose of skepticism on the supposed correlation between popularity and influence. The report—provocatively titled “Influencer Grudge Match: Lady Gaga versus Bono”—surveyed 739 marketing and communications professionals who work with influencers to gauge their perceptions of what makes an influencer.

A surprising 90% of respondents answered “yes” when asked whether there’s a big difference between popularity and influence.

Marketers Worldwide Who Think There Is a Difference Between Popularity and Influence in the Social Media Space, Sep 2010 (% of respondents)

Nearly the same percentage, 84%, believed that there was a correlation between an influencer’s reach and his or her ability to drive action. This indicates that respondents made a clear distinction between popularity and reach, and regarded the latter as the key that determines a person’s influence.

The survey did not define any of these terms, so it was up to the respondents to interpret them. From the results, it’s apparent that respondents regarded popularity as the sheer number of contacts on a social network and reach as the ability to actually communicate meaningfully with some number of those contacts. As one respondent put it, “A person can have only a few contacts and greatly influence just those few.”

Asked which type of social network participant would have the most measurable effect on an outcome, 57% picked someone who has “a handful of fans/friends/followers that are tightly connected,” versus 8% who picked someone with “millions of fans/friends/followers with little or no connection.” Quality over quantity.

Type of Person Who Is Most Influential in the Social Media Space, Sep 2010 (% of marketers worldwide)

Despite this data, many marketers are on a seemingly relentless quest to beef up their own social network profiles and reach users with lots of friends and followers. In the Vocus-Solis study, 57% of respondents said they’d be willing to pay for an influencer to help them “drive actions or outcomes.”

Further, Twitter recently unveiled its Promoted Accounts platform, which allows marketers to essentially pay for access to users based on the sizes of those users’ networks. Quantity over quality.

And an eROI study of social metrics tracked by US marketers found that two-thirds tracked changes in the numbers of friends, followers and fans. More qualitative measures such as reach of messaging were much lower on the scale. Again, quantity over quality.

Social Media Metrics Tracked, Apr 2010 (% of US marketers)

Story by Paul Verna, Senior Analyst

Are Twitter Followers Better Than Facebook Fans?

Marketers looking to push out the most effective messages to opt-in recipients must understand how audiences differ across channels and what causes them to connect with brands. Marketing venues that seem similar may differ strongly if their users have different needs and motivations.

According to the final edition of ExactTarget’s “Subscribers, Fans and Followers” report, the differences between email, Facebook and Twitter also include their influence on customer loyalty.

Daily Twitter users who followed a brand were more than twice as likely as daily Facebook users who “liked” a brand to say they were more likely to purchase from the brand after becoming a social media follower. What’s more, Facebook fans were the most likely group to actively disagree with the question. Subscribers to opt-in marketing emails fell in the middle.

US Internet Users Who Are More Likely to Purchase from a Brand After Becoming a Subscriber, Fan or Follower, April 2010 (% of respondents)

The pattern among Twitter followers, email subscribers and Facebook fans was similar when asked about whether they would recommend a brand. A third of Twitter followers said they were more apt to make a recommendation now that they followed a brand, compared with 24% of email subscribers and 21% of Facebook fans. Again, those who “liked” a brand on Facebook were most likely to actively disagree with the statement.

US Internet Users Who Are More Likely to Recommend a Brand After Becoming a Subscriber, Fan or Follower, April 2010 (% of respondents)

A February 2010 survey by Chadwick Martin Bailey also found that Twitter followers were more likely than Facebook fans to say they had an increased chance of buying or recommending the brands they connected with in social media.

These factors make Twitter followers attractive to marketers, but as the ExactTarget report notes, because of Twitter’s much smaller user base just 3% of US internet users follow a brand through the microblogging service. Those who do follow brands on Twitter are likely to be influencers in general, while Facebook users are more like the average consumer. And since Facebook users often become brand fans on the site because they are already fans in real life and want to use the brand as part of their self-image, it may be more difficult for them to actually increase their spending or advocate for the brand more than they did before “liking.”