After returning from SXSW, Buddy Media CEO Michael Lazerow reported, Twitter’s “focus on building their advertising business is palpable.”After reading that we reached out to see what he meant. What was Twitter doing at SXSW to get its ad business cranking that stood out? And was he more optimistic about Twitter’s chances of building a huge business?
Lazerow told us he didn’t have any specific insights about Twitter’s business plans, or what it’s telling advertisers.
But, he still had an interesting idea about what Twitter needs to do to attract big ad dollars. He says Twitter has to connect people to brands in a meaningful way.
How does it do that? Google reorganized the world around search. Facebook reorganized the world around people. Twitter needs to reorganize the world around real time.
How does that happen? That’s Dick Costolo’s problem to solve.
Here’s Lazerow’s full email explanation. We thought it was pretty good, so were running it:
The honest truth is that I have not been told of any specifics around their advertising business other than what they have announced publicly re: Promoted Tweets.
My personal opinion is that they need to solve what I call the creative crisis.
There is no real cost-effective way to create and scale a meaningful campaign on Twitter. You can’t program the property with anything other than a 140 character tweet. So instead of creating campaigns and digital presences on Twitter or inside the Twitter ecosystem, companies turn to Youtube, Facebook, and, yes, believe it or not, the “open web,” or what the rest of us just call the internet. Give creatives the ability to run with a big idea on Twitter and Twitter will take off.
Now what can they do that’s not possible on Facebook? Simple … If you follow a person or brand on Twitter, you see every tweet (assuming you read your feed). That’s much different than Facebook where you only see actions from people and brands that get through EdgeRank.
So there is an opportunity, I think, for Twitter to let people connect with brands real-time in a more meaningful way. So the question Twitter needs to answer then becomes: How can it connect PEOPLE everywhere to COMPANIES that are important to them? And how can it connect COMPANIES to PEOPLE everywhere that are important to them? While 140 characters is great for peer to peer interaction (90% of the country uses SMS!).
It is not great for changing people’s attitudes and behaviours, and for getting people to take action. Great for utility and information purposes. Not great for entertainment, education, brand building and emotional content — you know, the content that grips us or causes us to change our behaviour. TV, and now new platforms like YouTube & Facebook Pages, do what Twitter does not do very well.
So in order to grow its ad business, Twitter needs to allow companies of all sizes to easily program content that users care about in the environment they care about it. Google reorganized the world around search. Facebook is trying to reorganize the world around people. Twitter needs to reorganize the world around real-time information.
The good news for all three businesses is that neither goal is mutually exclusive. Search + People + Real-Time Information can live together even if they are not on a singular platform. It took a while for Facebook to build its advertising business and the same will be true of Twitter.
A year ago, I saw no heartbeat. Today I see a heartbeat and brainwaves and believe that results will be apparent in less than the human gestational period (also known as by the end of the year).
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