So at long last and after much lustful speculation, Twitter is set to launch an ad platform. Trick is, Twitter advertising won’t appear in your tweet stream — the paid messages will only pop up when you go over to search.twitter.com to see what the world is talking about (or search inside Twitter via various other doorways).
This shows remarkable restraint, perhaps signaling Twitter realizes ads — even if clearly marked with something such as IZEA’s sponsored tweet #ad hashtag — annoy the devil out of people when they’re chatting inside social media. So rather than risk upsetting the masses, which could drive away the audience that MySpace and Friendster found so fickle, Twitter will keep interruptions away from your clever 140-character missives unless someone else is specifically hunting for your topic.
What could it mean?
1. Twitter could be using the search ecosystem as a test, to see how people respond, before expanding the ads into the main chat streams.
2. Twitter may bet its search functionality will scale and someday rival Google (although only 429,500 U.S. people visit its search page per month as of now).
3. Or perhaps Twitter is simply acknowledging that ads work best when a consumer is in a search modality instead of a social mode.
We’re betting test; in marketing, as in love, it’s hard to make restraint last forever.
Image: H. Koppdelaney
Mental findings of the week:
1. Language influences thought. Students were shown a series of clay-model aliens and then asked to group them into friendly and unfriendly categories. If the students were told two types of names for the aliens, they were able to sort them much faster. The simple process of naming, the researchers found, helps people make decisions faster. The implication is brand names can guide behavior.
2. Outside outweighs inside. Too many marketers tell stories from the inside out, focused on product attributes, vs. the outside in, focused on the key customer need. Brandflakes uses Quiznos as a case study in how honesty — about what your customers want — is stronger messaging than focusing on your internal product parts. Note to hospitals: This is why billboards showing photos of doctors are boring.
3. The last touch didn’t cause the action. Rival clans in New Guinea kill each other based on histories of their fathers’ deaths. This points out that every action is precipitated by a long chain of prior influences; a good reminder for marketers that measuring cost per inquiry by media channel may be flawed logic. Customer action is the culmination of multiple prior contacts.
4. No sometimes means maybe. Copyranter, the hyperpopular sex-in-advertising blogger, shut down for good last Friday only to report back for duty after finding a way to get paid. From the buzz on blogs, you would have thought someone had threatened to turn off the internet. Next time a supplier or customer walks away, play nice, because they may soon be back.
Photo: Hologram of human brain by Mararie.