Most marketers still don’t understand Twitter -- neither the tricky challenges or its unique possibilities. That's according to a report released Monday from Forrester Research explaining how interactive marketers can -- and should -- make the most of Twitter, which supports about 100 million active users generating more than 1 billion tweets every four days.
From those tweets, in part, eMarketer estimates that global ad revenue at Twitter grew 210% to $139.5 million in 2011 -- up from just $45 million in 2010. In 2012, Twitter's second full year of advertising, the company should generate $260 million in worldwide ad revenue -- up 86.3% compared with 2011.
Forrester analysts believe it's not only the 1 billion tweets that matter, but rather the 6.2% of online adults creating 80% of the influence from impressions. The research firm calls these users Mass Connectors, part of the Mass Influencers group. Along with Mass Mavens -- representing 13.8% of online adults creating 80% of the posts, comments, rating -- they are small in number, but strong in power when it comes to influencing others.
Marketers have been successful in using Twitter to drive direct revenue, listen to the voice of consumers, grow share of voice for brands, aid brands in crisis, but many still have yet to see Twitter as a strategic marketing channel. Twitter is an "unorthodox technology that doesn't fit neatly into its current marketing ecosystems," according to the report.
Using Twitter correctly requires a diverse skill set, but it also makes missteps vulnerable to public scrutiny, creates a firehose of data that can become overwhelming, minority of influential folks dominate the posts, and it doesn't offer standard advertising options.
The report suggests that marketers believe their company's Web site can provide the best reach and opportunity to connect with consumers. Microsites follow, along with Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and the YouTube channel. When it comes to reaching the largest number of online users today, marketers put their company blog as the No. 3 most influential.
Aside from building a strong base of followers and igniting real-world conversations between the brands and consumers, Forrester analysts and authors of the report -- Melissa Parrish, David Truog and Sarah Takvorian -- suggest a three-part action plan. The trio believe marketers must help secure budgets, ensure that each account remains consists with the brand's message, and implement guardrail technology around the Twitter marketing strategy.