Is Twitter Mobile Marketing?

October 23rd, 2009 | by geo |


Twitter came on the scene only a few years ago, and although it was originally intended for communications among individuals, it has become a popular marketing platform for some of the world’s largest brands. Companies including Starbucks, ComCast, Whole Foods, Southwest Airlines, Dell and Best Buy are actively using Twitter to communicate with their patrons. Using Twitter is a fabulous way to broadcast alerts, special offers, and other meaningful information to consumers. Given the growing number of third party applications that provide easier ways to monitor the Twitterstream and stay in touch with followers (such as TweetDeck), it’s obvious that Twitter is an outstanding tool for marketers. With all of the recent benefits and buzz, and the ability for consumers to follow updates on their mobile devices, many companies are also turning to Twitter thinking that it is also a mobile marketing platform. Although Twitter does include SMS capabilities, there are several key aspects of traditional permissions-based SMS marketing solutions that Twitter lacks:

1) Opt-in of an Opt-in: You’re not guaranteed to hit users on their cell phones. When you follow someone on Twitter, by default the mobile updates are turned off when following via the web or third party application. Consumers who wish to receive messages on their phone, they must first follow the company and then additionally turn on this mobile update feature. This presents a huge barrier to ensuring you reach the consumer via mobile. In addition, Twitter only allows for a 140 character message, where with SMS marketing you can send a much longer, 160 character message.

2) Not everyone tweets: Twitter is a blip on the radar screen relative to the number of mobile phones capable of receiving SMS messages. According to recent data from ComScore, Twitter has roughly 20 million monthly users on the service in the U.S. There are over 154 million cell phone users in the U.S. that text message on a regular basis, and this number is growing steadily. This is a significant gap. Why limit your messages to a relatively smaller group of Twitter users who may not even get SMS updates?

3) New media means interactive: Twitter is a one-way street, meaning there is no mechanism in place to collect information or have a dialogue with your end consumers. Data collection enhances SMS marketing because you can ask questions, send surveys or polls, and gather valuable data such as email address, gender, or zip code. Gathering information allows for further segmentation, and more targeted messages and offers in the future. SMS marketing provides multiple keywords which can help determine how people found out about your offer, and which ads are most effective. Twitter is a broadcast to everyone who’s following you, data cannot be collected, and segmentation and targeted offers are not possible.

4) It’s all about ROI: There are multiple coupon redemption tracking methods offered via reputable mobile marketing firms, allowing marketers to track and measure the ROI of their offers. A unique coupon code can be sent with each message, which bears several benefits, such as minimizing fraudulent redemption attempts, enforcing expiration dates, and tracking capabilities. On Twitter you are not able to auto-generate coupon codes, nor can you track redemption activity. Both of which are valuable elements to any mobile marketing program.

5) Find the tipping point: Mobile marketing platforms are equipped with viral tools that allow consumers to forward offers to friends, multiplying the effect of campaigns. Referral offers have a much higher conversion rate relative to normal opt-in rates because the offers are relevant and come from a trusted source. With Twitter, you could forward a tweet to your friends; however there is no tracking and you cannot send direct follow-up offers to the new referral.

6) Twitter is only Twitter: Twitter is not a mobile marketing firm, and it is unclear how the company will continue to grow its product and services portfolio. A clear business model has yet to be defined for the company as they continue to make relatively meager profits. This makes Twitter a high risk long-term partner for any company looking to use them as a platform for ongoing marketing and customer relationship management. Is it safe to assume Twitter will always be around? Will the fad end in favor of something else? Are you, as a marketer willing to place all of your eggs in one basket? It would be a much safer bet to partner with a mobile marketing firm that not only has a clear vision and services offering, but can also help your business with a comprehensive mobile strategy. Integration with existing marketing and promotional efforts is key; without it a mobile program will fail.

7) Ancillary features: SMS is often the first step into the mobile world for a major brand, but what about a mobile website, or a mobile application for the iPhone, Blackberry, and other popular platform? A comprehensive mobile strategy should consider all of these components, in addition to evaluating how mobile can be integrated with existing email, online, and other marketing programs. It should never be viewed as a one off channel

Twitter is a fantastic service, providing a tool for all of us to stay in touch with each other, our favorite companies and websites. It’s a great way to answer that one simple question that the company was built on, which is, “What are you doing?” However, from a mobile marketing perspective, Twitter is severely lacking in features and functionality, and has several disadvantages vs. a full-service mobile marketing company. Twitter should absolutely be incorporated in your social media strategy, but never as the primary avenue for ongoing mobile customer relationship management.

Working with a reputable mobile marketing firm, your message will be delivered directly to the mobile device (guaranteed), and will be as targeted as needed to ensure it’s effective. Data can be collected from the consumer, reporting and analytics tools for ROI tracking are top notch, and you can even drive traffic to your Twitter and Facebook accounts as well. Twitter and mobile marketing work well together, but they are not the same.

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  1. 38 Responses to “Is Twitter Mobile Marketing?”

  2. By Minneapolis Web Design on Oct 23, 2009 | Reply

    Thank you for the interesting article!

  3. By Jamie Thompson on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    Great article, George. We are getting close to a tipping point with mobile marketing in the U.S., and I think Twitter has had a lot to do with it.

    I don’t think Twitter is the mobile marketing “thing” so much as it is a great facilitator and connector into the rest of the Web. With Twitter, brands now have a reason/place to drive consumers from their phones. I.E., opt-in via some call to action on an advertisement, connect with your social network (Twitter or Facebook) and then you and others share in whatever goodness the brand is offering (or selling).

    Thanks for all the good content here!

  4. By Ryan Nelson on Nov 2, 2009 | Reply

    This is a interesting point of veiw. Twitter is a fade. I thinks SMS will out last. Twitter is quickly turning into SPAM.

  5. By justin bryan on Jul 6, 2010 | Reply

    really a great way to start marketing campaigns but i think mobile marketing using shared short is now in demand among advertiser to advertise their products. Sending sms through shared short code or own brand short code to customer helps to reach your products to customer. Short code is now used by all popular reality shows, programs, games and election campaigns to send or to populate their message to targeted audiences. See also

  6. By Alexandra Gibson on Jul 9, 2010 | Reply

    mobile marketing will be open another market for goods and services just like in the internet-:-

  7. By Jayden Thomas on Jul 9, 2010 | Reply

    is there a sort of internet bookmark for Mobile Webistes?;~.

  8. By mobile marketing on Jul 12, 2010 | Reply

    Mobile marketing is the most growing marketing strategy these days to promote brands, business, services and organization. Mobile marketing come in focus in recent few years, especially due to fast growing mobile phone uses across the world. Analyst Estimate that in 2008 about 3.4 billions text messages send worldwide and the response rate of these text messages were about 70%, this statistic attract marketing c. Today all top brands and organization using mobile marketing campaigns to promote their products.

  9. By Benjamin Edwards on Jul 26, 2010 | Reply

    mobile websites are already growing these days. pretty soon we would have tons of them.’.”

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    mobile marketing would certainly open new demands for productsi intended for mobile applications.~-*

  11. By Hunter Reed on Sep 12, 2010 | Reply

    mobile websites will surely grow in the following years`;.

  12. By Petite Tops  on Oct 13, 2010 | Reply

    there is always a growth for the mobile market due to rise in mobile users’~:

  13. By Dumbbell Set Weights  on Oct 13, 2010 | Reply

    there are growing number of mobile websites these days, there would be more in the future:”:

  14. By Dynamic Microphone : on Oct 24, 2010 | Reply

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    there is a growing trend in mobile websites this year alone’,.

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