We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #22


Twitter unveils ‘promoted tweets’ ad plan
Last week Biz Stone, one of the co-founders of Twitter, announced a new advertising platform for Twitter that serves up ‘promoted tweets’ written by advertisers which will appear when people search on the site.

Users will see sponsored tweets at the top of some Twitter search pages, which will be an ordinary tweet from the brand clearly labelled “Promoted” to distinguish paid-for tweets from normal ones.

This is another important move by Twitter in defining its business model, but has raised a few questions about what promoted tweets will mean for the user experience? Anticipating this, Stone has said said in a blog post:

Promoted Tweets must meet a higher bar—they must resonate with users. That means if users don’t interact with a Promoted Tweet to allow us to know that the Promoted Tweet is resonating with them, such as replying to it, favoriting it, or Retweeting it, the Promoted Tweet will disappear.

Twitter have partnered with Best Buy, Bravo, Red Bull, Sony Pictures, Starbucks, and Virgin America during the first phase of the Promoted Tweets roll-out. Over on Mashable, Virgin America’s Vice President of Marketing, Porter Gale, has gone into detail about company’s strategy around Promoted Tweets and what users can expect from them.

Is ‘free’ finally falling out of favour?
Online social networking platform Ning will be phasing out its free service in favour of offering a premium service only to paying customers, saying existing free networks will have the opportunity to either convert to paying for premium services, or transition off of Ning.”

The news follows the announcement last month of the resignation of Gina Bianchini, Ning’s CEO, and more recently that the company is in the process of laying off 40% of its staff.

Of the wider implications of this development on the Freemium model on the web, Patricio Robles of eConsultancy had this to say:

Make no doubt about it: Ning’s move is significant. That’s not because the company itself was ever really important. It was never Facebook or MySpace, for instance. But it was a Silicon Valley poster child for Web 2.0 and the social networking craze… the fact that it was giving away the farm for free was always promoted as a positive.

Does Ning’s fall from grace signal a storm brewing for other free web services?

McDonalds signs up social media chief
McDonalds has joined the ranks of Ford, Comcast, Coca-Cola, Dell and Starbucks to become the next major brand to have to have someone in charge of social media “100% of the time, rather than someone who’s got a day job on top of a day job”.

Rick Wion has been named McDonald’s head of social media, charged with using social media to build the business, manage customer care and build up their blogger outreach programme to groups ‘like mommy bloggers’.

Twitter’s night as record numbers tweet during first leader debate
Approximately 184,396 tweets were sent over the course of the UK’s first televised leader debate last Thursday 15 April as citizens took to web to interact with one another as the event unfolded on TV screens across the country. Some other highlights:

It was already being dubbed the ‘internet election’ before it had even begun, so it will be interesting to see how activity on the web grows as we near election day, and the next leader’s debate scheduled for Thursday 22 April.

$3.60 Facebook Fan Valuation Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg
According to research from social networking specialist Vitrue, Facebook fans are worth $3.60 each in media value for brands.  Vitrue developed the Fan valuation to attribute a value for highly targeted impressions, which is just what brands get whenever they post to their wall on Facebook. Vitrue based their research on Fan Page data from its clients, for which they manage over 45 million fans.

It’s a step in the right direction in determining value of social media engagement for brands, beyond simply racking up a large number of fans or followers. Indeed, with additional methods of social engagement such as clicks, comments, likes, plays and shares, brands that actively engage with their fans stand to earn far more value than the estimates above.