Will Promoted Tweet Syndication 'Torpedo' Ad Creativity?

Chris CrumAdvertising

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Earlier this month, Twitter announced Promoted Tweet syndication, which sees the company showing its ads outside of Twitter. Promoted Tweets appear on third-party services beginning with Flipboard (which now has a desktop experience in addition to its mobile apps) and Yahoo Japan.

This is the example Twitter showed of a Nissan ad running in the Flipboard app:

Rob Emrich, CEO of The Mobile Majority, says Twitter is "torpedoing ad creativity" with this syndication.

Asked to explain this, he tells WebProNews, "As it stands, Twitter's available ad units are limited to static images with text-based descriptions, links, and calls-to-action. This offering doesn't take advantage of the capabilities of mobile devices which can provide consumers with richer creative and increased functionality."

"In essence, users would be limited to seeing a static Twitter ad on a third-party site, clicking a button or link, and being taken to another site or app to continue the experience," he says. "When compared to rich-media alternatives like inline video, add-to-calendar, and mini-games, it's easy to imagine which people would rather engage with."

"That said, there is a high likelihood Twitter will also expand their newly introduced Promoted Videos outside the app's feed and within publisher's sites - a step in the right direction."

Twitter announced Promoted Video back in August before launching native video to general users last month.

"According to this Marketing Land article, ad quality is three times more effective at driving sales than an effective media plan, five times more effective at driving ad awareness than targeting, and delivers better engagement and brand lift," says Emrich. "Put simply: creative is the most important leverage point mobile marketers have to make an impact on their campaigns' results."

"If an ad is interesting and looks good, humans will be more inclined to interact with it," he says. "They're more likely to remember the experience later. They are also more likely to share it, pass it along, and bring it up in conversation with other humans."

Will the ease of Twitter's product ultimately reduce the effectiveness of advertisers' campaigns?

"Twitter's new offering makes building and serving ads onto third-party sites simple," says Emrich. "But simple doesn't necessarily mean 'good.' Simple means easy to do. And when it comes to building engaging mobile ad creative that will engage a consumer, Twitter's current offering falls short."

How can traditional advertisers find initial value from Twitter's new syndication?

"For smaller businesses looking to dip their toes in social and insert those same efforts into other digital properties, Twitter offers a lot of efficiencies," he says. "Rather than duplicating copy and reformatting images across multiple platforms, Twitter allows advertisers to build it once and run in multiple formats. Less savvy traditional marketers may also see an opportunity to grow their own social followings from outside the Twitter ecosystem. Without a consistent social engagement plan, however, they may end up paying to build an asset that goes under-utilized."

It's going to be interesting to see how Twitter expands its syndication program, and how big its roster of partners gets.

"Due to brand recognition and public awareness of the platform, Twitter should have no problem expanding the number of networks and sites that want to work with them," says Emrich. "The other side of the coin is that Twitter pays publishers for their inventory. As a result, we may see some pricing adjustments to current inventory sources (such as Google) as the market and new supply side platforms (like Twitter) expand their reach."

Upon announcing syndicated Promoted Tweets, Twitter said that in the third quarter of 2014, there were about 185 billion tweet impressions off of Twitter.

"For the thousands of brands already advertising on Twitter, these new partnerships open a significant opportunity to extend the reach of their message to a larger audience. Twitter syndicated ads will be seen by users within Twitter content sections on third-party properties, as well as within third-party content areas," said Ameet Ranadive, Senior Director of Product.

The company says it sees the syndication as an opportunity for marketers to increase their capacity for large-scale ad campaigns on an “almost infinite” basis. The more syndication partners Twitter picks up, the more that will be true.

Image via Twitter

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.