Take A Number: Federated Lines Up Twitter Campaigns
Federated Media, which began pulling together tweet pages about specific topics on the Twitter platform last week, has several programs "in the hopper" that it hopes to launch soon. They range from "flights of fancy" to projects well on their way in development, according to Matthew DiPietro, the agency's marketing manager.
AT&T's sponsored site MarchTweetness, with tweets about the March Madness basketball games, and Microsoft's ExecTweets, a collection of tweets from executives, were unveiled last week after months in development, from idea to execution. Both sites were stored on a staging server behind passwords, so developers could "bang on them to make sure they were solid and could withstand the traffic, which has been many times more than we anticipated--and we anticipated quite a bit," DiPietro said.
"These programs are partnerships between Federated and Twitter in which we are sharing revenue," he said, declining to provide details. "I would stop way short of saying this is Twitter's business model. They are fast-growing and I know they have plans to try many different things. This is one piece."
These "experimental" campaigns don't offer metrics to prove a return on investment other than the amount of traffic flowing to the sites, but companies like Microsoft and AT&T are all too eager to give it a go.
For AT&T, the idea came from a major initiative to find new and innovative ways to participate in the social Web after meeting with Twitter execs, according to Steve Governale, executive director for Interactive and Innovation at AT&T. The discussion turned to talking about the phenomenon that happens on Twitter during TV events and even prime-time shows where the viewing audience exchanges Tweets about the program," he said. "We began to think of ways we might bring that type of conversation to the Twitter community in a way that wasn't previously possible."
Governale said the campaign is an experiment to see if basketball fans like the experience Twitter and social networks offer. By participating in "authentic" programs that "add value to communities," AT&T hopes consumers will recognize the company's willingness to experiment in technology that can add experiences to the game that did not exist before. The carrier's next move will depend on feedback from fans.
Expect Federated Media to replicate the concept behind MarchTweetness and ExecTweets with as many clients as they can, according to Jeremiah Owyang, senior analyst at Forrester Research.
A few years ago Federated Media created a syndicated network of blogs and began selling advertising across Boing Boing, Digg, Dooce, among many others. Today, the agency supports conversational marketing strategies for companies such as BMW, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Honda and McDonald's.
As for Twitter, Owyang said the microblogging site will go through the hype and into the backlash cycle in the near future, where people will say, "'Oh, Twitter, that's silly,' but then we'll see real adoption of the technology in a variety of applications."
Owyang believes Twitter will become a communications tool integrated into a variety of experiences for both personal and business applications. For example, text messaging is between two people. Today, Tweeters can download Twitter to send 140 character messages via mobile devices. "Twitter is a social network first; a mobile communications tool second," Owyang said. Carriers could integrate the communications tool into services, or handset makers build the technology into the cell phones.