A new report from Ad Age’s Jeanine Poggi contains some good news and some bad news for Twitter.
On the one hand, Poggi reports that Twitter’s Amplify program, which allows brands to run a promoted tweet containing a short video of an ongoing television event, has been a big success when used during live events like sports and awards shows.
On the other, brands and networks tell Poggi that Amplify has not caught on as much with viewers when used during scripted television.
While Heineken added 2,300 followers from a campaign centered one the U.S. Open tennis tournament, A&E has run just one Amplify campaign since signing up to try the product when it launched in May 2013.
If nothing else, the news highlights the friction that exists between Twitter and its TV partners as they fight to make money off of a fragmented television audience that does not come together around one program in the numbers they once did.
In a sense, the struggles the Amplify product have faced mirror what is happening in television as a whole: live events like sports are drawing huge numbers while scripted programs are increasingly being watched via time-shifting methods like DVR and Hulu.
As a result, Ad Age reports, some brands are thinking about scaling back on TV advertising to spend money on Amplify tweets, rather than making an additional outlay for Amplify on top of their current levels of TV spending.
Here’s how a TV executive phrased it to Ad Age:
“Initially we were excited about Amplify as a way to get incremental revenue. We bought into the premise,” the first TV executive said. “But when we went into the marketplace we were surprised sponsors didn’t find value in it and they didn’t want to spend extra. Some suggested reducing their buy with the network to give portion to Twitter, which of course didn’t sit well for us.”
Though Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser told Ad Age that Amplify represents only a small sliver of Twitter’s revenues, the report serves as an interesting example of a story we’ve been talking about here for a while.
Twitter has worked hard to forge a complementary relationship with television, both by offering networks access to its social analytics and by allowing advertisers to boost their TV buys by simultaneously running promoted tweets. But the social media company’s end-game remains as it has always been: to grow its own $US1 billion-a-year ad business by stealing the ad money that has traditionally gone to TV.
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