With Twitter’s ninth birthday this week Jay Revels, managing director of Marin Software, APAC, says the platform has finally got things right and has become an essential tool for brand and reputation management.
The ninth year in Twitter’s timeline means more than an extra candle on their cake. As the social media platform approaches almost a decade in age, it also marks the early days of Twitter’s maturation as it monetises its promotional activity and embraces the brands and figures that support it.
Back in 2006, the Californian start-up didn’t know they were launching a platform that would open a two-way communication outlet between major brands and figures, fundamentally changing the way marketers communicated with customers and vice versa.
Part social, part information network, Twitter’s fast moving live feed leveraged real time events in a way no other technology had before, paving the way for digitally savvy agencies, public relations professionals and marketing practitioners to keep their brand top of mind – at the right time.
As genuine, two-way conversation opportunities emerged between customers and brands, campaign marketers and public relations professionals rejoiced; while suddenly reputation management practitioners had another job on their hands: coaching executives with little digital experience on how to have a genuine conversation with their customers, in the right tone, at the right time.
SEO and digital marketers learnt, quickly, finding and discovering brands no longer began at search; discover and referral was suddenly a part of the mix. In house and agency side capabilities were growing – fast. Monitoring mentions, tracking sentiment, managing, composing, creating content, native advertising began to become common language amongst agencies and those who didn’t have a digital arm or experts under their roofs began aggressively recruiting.
Mobile usage soared. Twitter was quick to embrace mobile, something Facebook admits it took longer to do. Smartphone adoption is a key reason Twitter will continue to grow in the years ahead; mobile already accounts for 85% of Twitter usage and 85% of all its ad revenue.
All of this appears to have been achieved without upsetting existing users – its hard find any evidence that ads are creating Twitter quitters. Growth of new users has slowed, but Twitter is still on course to hit 400m users in March 2015.
Overall Twitter ad revenue increased 97% (Feb ’14-Feb ’15). The medium has become a highly attractive advertising outlet for brands and Twitter has worked hard to attract brands by broadening its advertising options, opening up more audience data and launching new capabilities to reach users, including pinned tweets and Vines.
In the US Twitter is trialling a ‘buy’ button; something the Australian market eagerly awaits. These commercially minded moves are important for brands, who might otherwise fear their message could be drowned out by the sheer volume of noise on the platform – over 9,000 tweets are posted every second.
The question for marketers is how they’ll use data and the increase of mobile consumption to their advantage moving forward to remain competitive. We have seen this evolve over the years; currently we measure, manage and optimise $7.2B in ad spend across web and mobile devices. From March 2015, advertisers can use Marin Software to manage Twitter ads for clients, alongside other social marketing channels like Facebook.
The software also contributes partly to changing attitudes between journalists, media and consumers, but also to the changing media landscape as a whole (potentially also attention spans). From 100 million tweets posted per quarter in 2008 to 50 million tweets per day in 2010, Twitter now boasts over 284 million active users.
Remember, it took eight years for Twitter to become profitable; 2010 was the year of promoted tweets; two years later ad spend on mobile overtakes desktop advertising; and in 2015 – 1 billion tweets.