I’m a pretty heavy Twitter user. I may not tweet as much as I’d like to, but I read my feed religiously every day. It’s a new source, an entertainment vehicle and a method of communication with my friends.
As a marketer, however, I struggle with it a bit. Of course, we handle many Twitter accounts on behalf of our clients. We know their brands nearly as well as they do, so it’s easy for us to administer this extension of their companies into the social sphere. But, as an advertising tool, I’m not quite sure what to do with it yet.
Since there is no singular convention for identifying geographic locations for Tweeters, and no advertising interface built into the product, there’s no way for me to use this tool to our clients’ advantage from a targeting perspective. Unlike Facebook, which has a robust and very useful advertising channel set up, Twitter has yet to figure this out.
And this begs the question of how Twitter makes money. Venture capital has helped tremendously, of course. But, at some point, these peeps are going to have to figure out how to generate revenue. The few innovations they’ve made aren’t going to help. New interface? How’s that going to generate ROI?
The newest development is analytics. I LOVE analytics – Google’s got ’em, Facebook’s got ’em…if you’ve got true skin in the game, you’ve got analytics. So, I’m glad to see Twitter put their oar in the water. Yet, the approach is strange. Demand from marketers has been extremely high for analytics. So, couldn’t they charge a minimal fee for access, even right out of the gate?
Perhaps they are taking the Hootsuite approach – get users hooked on the product and then hit them with a minimal fee to use the tool. Free-mium could work, we’ll see! Better be grandma-slapping good analytics, though.