It’s time adland wised up to Twitter

Source: The Independent Newspaper

If you follow these things you’ll probably know that the biggest topic trending on #Twitter in the US last week was something called SXSW, a painfully fashionable gathering at the cutting edge of music, film and interactive media. It takes place every year in Austin, Texas, and is cooler than a Mr Whippy.

 The SXSW (or South By Southwest as it’s known by those of us who aren’t character-counting) whirl included sessions like “Program or be Programmed”, “Networked Love, Bonding, Intimacy: Our Interactive Digital Clouds”, and “Best Practices for Contextual Applications”.

So a group of #tweet freaks at an inny festival in the deep south, amplified by their followers and adoring re- tweeters, made more noise on #Twitter last week than all the other tweeters out in the real world, talking about real stuff like St Patrick’s Day or Lady Gaga or Tiger Woods’s underpants. Aha, go the #Twitter sceptics. Told you. This #Twitter thing is really for the techie geeks and people with nothing better to do. It’s a fad, a fashion, driven by digital obsessives.

But, oh, what numbers #Twitter now has. Too many for this to be just a platform for the navel-picking of the new-media crowd. #Twitter is a mass medium. And I mean mass.

Last month the site announced that roughly 50 million tweets were being posted every day, and this month #Twitter notched up its 10 billionth tweet. The growth is phenomenal.

Imagine, then, the world’s army of #marketers and #ad agencies slavering over the #Twitter phenomenon. Millions of people, billions of conversations, all happening in one place, easily trackable, totally participatory and utterly free.

Except that, erm, #marketers are being rather cautious about #Twitter. Roughly 20 per cent of tweets now contain a reference to a product or brand, but many marketers are only now starting to track these conversations and use the consumer insight they provide.

According to a new study by #Virgin Media Business, only 16 of the FTSE Top 100 companies are using #Twitter to communicate with customers, and though 57 of them have signed on to #Twitter, most have left their account lying dormant.

Their #ad agencies haven’t really been pushing the potential, either. Strange, when you consider that adland has tended to grab at anything #digital with giddy excitement.

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