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Twitter's Bain turns hashtags into #revenue

Stashed in: Advertising, Awesome, Monetization, Myspace, Mobile (2013), Branding, Valuation

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Bain, 39, arrived at Twitter in 2010 from News Corp.'s Fox interactive unit, where he had been responsible for implementing a widely praised self-serve ad sales system at then market-leading MySpace. (News Corp. had acquired the once-hot site in 2005 for $580 million, only to watch it shed audience and advertiser interest until it was sold in 2011 for a mere $35 million to the digital ad network company Specific Media.) Bain, like his former boss Ross Levinsohn, the erstwhile Yahoo CEO who now runs Guggenheim Digital Media, managed to escape News Corp. without the taint of responsibility for MySpace's failures.

With Facebook yet to announce any ad products tailored to take advantage of its new hashtags, Bain, in a recent conversation, didn't want to talk specifically about that company's plans, or a potential Facebook vs. Twitter hashtag battle. But it's clear which competitor he's referring to when he says that "Twitter is a series of 'now' moments, while there are other platforms that are about yesterday's moments," and that "marketing is all about owning the moment."

Hashtags are money? We gotta add us some hashtags to PandaWhale!!


<Those "now moments" are really "now on television moments." Twitter's current success with real-time ad sales is based almost entirely on capitalizing on the way TV viewers use computers and mobile devices to have second-screen conversations about what they're watching, whether that's a football game, a live episode of American Idol, or a hurricane forming off the coast of Florida.>

Like a town center, as opposed to a front page ....

<Bain and other Twitter executives have begun referring to their platform as a "force multiplier" that can boost the impact of television advertising. "We think of it as Twitter times TV," he says. The idea is that viewers who are tweeting about what they're watching are more engaged, and therefore more likely to remember what they saw on TV — including the ads. There's also a positive feedback effect: If everyone's tweeting about a show, it can compel their followers who aren't watching to switch it on and increase the TV ratings. (Laying it on thick in its marketing efforts, the company even uses Sir Isaac Newton's Second Law — Force = Mass x Acceleration — in presentations touting its new "Amplify" product, which encourages marketers to link their TV and Twitter spending in order to better target messages to consumers.) The company has also partnered with Nielsen to create new audience metrics for advertisers, launching this fall, which they claim will capture this effect.

Hyperbole aside, Bain and Twitter may be onto something in their attempt to complement traditional media rather than supplant it. Net media companies have long bemoaned the fact that while consumers have been fleeing television and print to spend an increasing percentage of their media time on digital devices, there hasn't been a commensurate shift in ad dollars. Looking back at his pre-Twitter career, Bain says Internet companies became so obsessed with producing original content, "in a lot of cases they forgot about content consumption." Twitter, he implies, won't make the mistake of doing anything more creative on the media front than letting its users squawk about what's happening elsewhere.

"You don't need to produce content to get value out of the platform," he suggests. That billion dollars of revenue-fueled IPO may soon prove him right.>

Cue the "Soon ..." memes.

Soon gif - PandaWhale

Actually, I hold Twitter and Facebook responsible for trivializing conversation.

Every time I see the Twitter or Facebook comments about a television show I'm left with the feeling of wishing I had that time back instead.

I see your point, especially about FB.  

Twitter is different.  I use Twitter to guide me to great commentary on another page.  I follow The New Yorker, for example, and they pull me from Twitter to their page.  FB, on the other hand, makes me wade through my friends' stream before I see any references or links to anything I find interesting.

Better example re Twitter:  Sports, where real-time commentary matters. I'm watching a game. During a commercial I glance at my Twitter feed on my second screen (Android phone).  I see Cork Gains has a great ESPN quote. I click CG's ESPN link.   

Twitter greases a timely wheel, timely being the operative word.

How do you find so many good things on Twitter? You must filter through a lot of bad tweets.

My Twitter account is set on auto-filter:  I don't follow anyone or anything I don't want to.

So what you're saying is not to make Twitter social but to keep it interest only.

Yes, that's what I'm saying.

Even with the people you want to follow, most of their tweets are varying quality, right?

I optimize my exposure to good tweets.  Overall I've discovered more amazing people/entities/sources than I've suffered bad ones.  

Makes sense to me.

"(Laying it on thick in its marketing efforts, the company even uses Sir Isaac Newton's Second Law — Force = Mass x Acceleration "But... it's MATH!!!

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