Sunday, November 22, 2009

Twitter: Is it the place to run ads?

Really appreciated this post, Risks with Twitter Advertising, on the Going Social Now blog. You might think from the headline that this was all about the risks of alienating followers or being associated with the "Wild West" of uncontrolled content on Twitter, and certainly the first risk does come up. In social media your first concern as a company jumping in is to not be the company that comes in and ruins the user experience!

What I enjoyed about the post was that it also brought up unknown and unresolved issues around the quality of experience for the advertiser too. Such as the lack of cookies, therefore the inability to put frequency caps on how often a user sees a particular ad. Such as the lack of actually reliable impression or click trackability. Things that are taken for granted in the usual online advertising world.

There's only one thing I would correct in this post. They say:

"Before you know it, the FTC will feel obliged to institute guidelines or requirements for advertising in this space too."

Well, the future is now, because the FTC has already said that their new guidelines for bloggers apply to tweets and Facebook status updates too. So, disclosure...yes!

Personally, when it comes to Twitter, I'm proud of the solution I helped institute for BlogHer.

1. Our @BlogHer account is about community and content
2. Our @BlogHerSupport account is for answering questions in a public way, but without boring everyone
3. Our @BlogHerDeals account is all sponsor offers and initiatives

The beauty of Twitter is that it's a 100% opt-in user experience. If you don't like what any particular person is tweeting, unfollow. Conversely we can be pretty sure that every person that follows our Support and Deals Twitter account opted in to that kind of content.

I may be biased, given this is BlogHer's Twitter policy, and that our blogging policy also spells out a similar kind of physical separation of editorial and sponsored content, but I think that if you want to turn your Twitter stream into an advertising opportunity, you should try creating a new Twitter feed, grow a follower base of people who are interested in that kind of content from you and then go for it, to your heart's content!

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