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More A-List Brands Will Join the Tweet Chorus

By Rachelle Dragani E-Commerce Times ECT News Network
Apr 23, 2013 11:32 AM PT

Twitter will soon significantly expand its advertising reach after the social network agreed to a deal with Publicis' Starcom MediaVest Group, one of the world's largest advertising agencies.

More A-List Brands Will Join the Tweet Chorus

Starcom's top clients, which include Coca-Cola and Microsoft, will now win some of the premier advertising slots on Twitter, according to published reports. The two companies will also gain access to each other's demographic research and user data, which can help marketers reach out to specific Twitter users.

Starcom will benefit from the handful of new advertising features that Twitter has recently released to marketers. The updated tools include real-time polling capabilities, direct targeting of users based on trending keywords, and access to more data to hit certain demographics.

The companies are also looking to develop the relationship between advertisers and the growing consumer segment that is using Twitter to share comments on popular TV shows, sporting events or live news coverage in real time. For instance, a popular pizza chain could tweet a special discount during halftime of a championship playoff game.

Twitter recently launched a similar attempt at targeting entertainment consumers with Twitter #Music, an app that allows users to search for new music and connect via trending songs, albums and artists.

Neither company released financial details of the deal. Neither Twitter nor Starcom responded to our request to comment for this story.

Second-Screen Viewers

The partnership between Twitter and Starcom comes as many marketers are hoping to speak to the so-called "second-screen" social media users.

Even though an ad on Twitter won't hit every user watching a given show, better Starcom access to user data would allow its clients to run more effective ads.

Twitter's part in securing the deal is a huge win for the social site, said Lauren Formalarie, senior social analyst at Say It Social, since it is younger and smaller than other social networks.

"This deal puts Twitter in a great position in terms of the overall social business world," she told the E-Commerce Times. "A great deal of credit that many people did not give Twitter will be handed over in conjunction with the Starcom deal. This new development could advance Twitter's narrow industry from a social network to a media company."

Execution is Key

That's not to say the deal guarantees success from an advertising perspective, Formalarie added. Despite advertiser excitement about the possibilities that exist to truly personalize social media ads, few have been able to successfully execute lucrative campaigns.

"Even with the ability to specifically target groups of individuals with similar interests, social networks have not really grasped the concept of individual advertising options," she noted.

There is also a fine line between tailoring personalized ads and being too invasive, as some of Twitter's major competitors have learned, said Jim Tobin, president of Ignite Social Media.

"Targeted ads have potential to be more helpful to users, although too many marketers are abusing them and saturating people with them," he told the E-Commerce Times. "Facebook users are bristling at the damage to the user experience that all these ads have done."

If Twitter wants to make the most of this deal, it needs to continue to unveil new tools and features that will make it a premier destination for marketers without scaring away its audience. The publicity surrounding the partnership will die soon enough, so the site needs to make moves that will keep advertisers buzzing, said Formalarie.

"If Twitter can follow up the news with something seriously amazing for its advertisers, it will remain in the spotlight," she said. "Businesses know they need the presence and engagement to happen on Facebook and Twitter, but social networks have the ability to completely take advantage of that by not offering spectacular advertising platforms and opportunities. That needs to change."

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