On its first day as a public company Twitter was valued at £19bn. Following its successful stock market launch, Twitter now needs to prove to investors that it can effectively grow its revenue; one medium through which it would do this is advertising.
There are 230 million users globally on Twitter, 76% of which access Twitter on a mobile device. Therefore advertisers are extremely interested in utilising mobile ads. In response to this, Twitter is introducing a new set of targeting capabilities for mobile devices. Now all advertisers can segment audiences on iOS and Android by operating system version, specific device, and WiFi connectivity. This helps advertisers reach the users most important to them, for example mobile app developers can target users with the necessary operating systems, prompting a new download or re-engagement through an app card. This is something that has previously been successfully operated by Facebook, the main rival of Twitter.
Telco companies can now also promote loyalty and rewards to users on their specific devices. All marketers can focus campaigns on users with device models that are indicative of demographics which align to their campaign goals.
Furthermore there is now the self-serve ad platform to be used by small businesses across the UK. Anyone with a Twitter account and a credit card can now buy promoted tweets and promote accounts; targeted through keywords or interests and followers.
In addition to this, the new segmentation reporting gives advertisers better insights in to the OS versions and specific devices of users engaging with their general campaigns.
So will Twitter be an effective advertising platform? Despite the many advantages of using advertising on social media, the juxtaposed dangers were suitably demonstrated last month on Facebook, when a video showing a human decapitation appeared without warning. This was a disaster for advertisers sharing this content on the same page. Clearly, regulation of content is a difficult and controversial issue to tackle. Twitter has its own pitfalls for companies, for example companies are being warned about Twitter ‘trolls’; who can harm the company’s reputation with unprovoked criticism.
Now that images are allowed, ads appearing in Twitter are much more prominent. This does change the experience for the user. As Twitter pushes for more advertising there is the potential for a backlash from users as they are inundated with adverts. Plans were revealed to widen its advertising to target “every business on the planet”. Although this is brilliant news for small/medium businesses, this may not sit well with some users. Therefore a fine balance needs to be reached to avoid the over-saturation of adverts, on Twitter feeds, driving its users away.