It's official: Twitter pulled off its big debut on the New York Stock Exchange and saw its shares soar to boot--opening at $26 per share this morning and closing at $45. Now the real question is if it can turn its 230 million users into a profitable business.
Although Twitter has made strides in connecting advertisers with customers--for example, helping Hyundai identify users who are car shopping--the company still has a long way to go before it becomes a regular part of top brands' budgets.
Keith Weed, a chief marketing and communications officer at Unilever, told The Wall Street Journal: "[It needs to] use research to show that the very high levels of engagement that Twitter commands translate into increased brand equity."
The Journal collected suggestions from a slew of marketers for how Twitter can up its ad game. Here are four of the best tips:
Target location and interests.
Sarah Hofstetter, chief executive officer of digital ad firm 360i US, says she wants to see Twitter enhance its geo-location targeting abilities and ability to pinpoint a user's interests. "Twitter currently offers enhanced targeting capabilities on its ad products, but not yet for non-promoted content [paid tweets]. The ability to customize messages to consumers based on their location or interests would create a better experience for both marketers and the end user," Hofstetter says.
Improve analytics between TV and Twitter.
Twitter's TV targeting product enables marketers to push tweets at consumers who have just watched an ad on TV, but brands want more. "I want to see more TV related ad products and I want them to share analytics. We have a fairly sizable investment in Twitter and we are looking closely at how it performs," says Christopher Ray, digital marketing director at LG Electronics. "I want to see if their ad products give us brand favorability and how it drives purchase indicators such as, 'Are you visiting my site?' or, 'Are you engaging with my products?'"
Organize interesting content.
The whole idea of Twitter is that it is real time. What you see in your feed is happening now. But, that aspect bothers some ad agencies. Trevor Guthrie, co-founder of marketing firm Giant Spoon, says, "Twitter can't let the feed just pass the user by." He says that the downside of its model is that if someone isn't using Twitter, they will miss the ad. "Twitter needs to organize the content to make it more relevant to the user and give brands large, contextual environments to engage with users," Guthrie says. "If Twitter could pinpoint these water cooler moments and align brands, they'll see leaps in advertiser interest and their bottom line."
Be more organic.
All of these suggestions are good for brands, but if Twitter caters too much towards advertisers it can lose its users. No one wants a Twittersphere where brands like Target fills your feed with 140-character diaper ads. But Peter McGuinness, chief marketing officer of yogurt company Chobani, already realizes this: "I would like to see less intrusive advertising units that are more organic and relevant to the platform," he says. "I would buy those kinds of ads."