Tweets Move Words
Unwilling to wait for Twitter to come up with a monetization strategy for its microblogging site, impatient newspapers, brand marketers and non-profits are already beginning to harness tweets in their own real-time ads.
Sony Moves Ahead
In one example, the new wireless Sony Reader ad, "Words Move Me," is a "literary clone of Twitter" according to TechCrunch.
The ad enables users to paste in passages up to 255 characters long, then post them to their streams with accompanying tags. "When you click on an author, a book title, or another user, you see more passages from that source that have been shared on Words Move Me.
So far, so good," TechCrunch said. "The problem is that right now it is a self-contained site. Facebook and Twitter integration are coming 'in phase 2,'… If you can’t share your favorite book passages with your existing network, this isn’t going to go far. But it’s coming."
Earlier this month Wendy's launched its own real time ad, developed using an automated tool that works with Twitter's API to retrieve tweets containing a variety of keywords.
"Some of the tweets relate to bacon, the menu item Wendy's is promoting in its new campaign," ClickZ said. They cover other topics as well, including Twitter activity from Yankees fans celebrating the team's American League championship win, for instance.
That's okay with Wendy's, said Myles Kleeger, managing director at the Kaplan Thaler Group, which manages the account.
"Sometimes the tweets don't pertain to Wendy's, but we're trying to reflect on what our targets are interested in, and if it was only Wendy's it would be less interesting," Kleeger told ClickZ.
"We pull in a certain number of tweets every minute… The most recent ones appear, then they fade into the distance and change, so you'll see new ones every time you look at the page," he added.
The Minnesota Post is also offering a real time ad service for its users.
As of September, it had eight paying customers. "All you need is a Twitter feed or a blog with an RSS feed; every time you update your message there, it automatically updates your ad," the publication said, adding that users can freshen their message every week, every day, or even every hour.
One of the first such ads was developed by Service Employees International Union. It contained canned text that Twitter users can post to their stream in order to drive interest in a cause.
Common to most of these strategies is the fact that consumers have the control, Nate Elliott, a Forrester Research analyst, told ClickZ. Marketers are "using public tweets in their campaigns…the upside is there's a lot of content they can work with, but the downside is the content may have nothing to do with the products, so it may not reinforce the brand," he said. "It's a gamble they have to take."