With news in the tech, marketing and startup world dominated by Twitter’s impending IPO, many commentators and potential investors are asking themselves whether they should jump in feet first or wait to see if we have another Facebook IPO on our hands.
Up until recently, there were pretty much two common expressions to illustrate the idea of something that doesn’t exist: hen’s teeth and unicorns.
In 2013 we can now also add 'advertisers that acquire new customers from Facebook' to this list.
That’s not to say that advertising on Facebook is a total waste of time and money. Getting your product in front of hundreds of millions of eyeballs has a value of course but for the performance marketer who cares only about spending $x and generating $x+y, Facebook can seem like one giant online black hole.
Just ask yourself when the last time was that you even looked at a Facebook ad, let along clicked on one. Can you remember the last time you spoke to a business or even read about one that has made a success of their Facebook spend?
And If you can find one, I can probably find you ten that have lost money advertising on Facebook.
Like Facebook, Twitter is an online tech company with hundreds of millions of users that makes a good chunk of its revenues from advertising but that’s really where the similarity ends.
As the online publishing industry has found out over the last few years, users and eyeballs do not necessarily equal dollars.
Twitter though - unlike Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr et al - is in a unique position to create a vast advertising platform that works for advertisers, consumers and of course makes a big pile of cash for Twitter itself.
Twitter is real-time
The demands that consumers place on brands is getting ever greater and contact within minutes is becoming a minimum expectation. Twitter is the perfect place to communicate in real-time with potential customers as they express fragments of intent.
Consumers already go onto Twitter each day in their millions tweeting into the ether for recommendations and help with making purchasing decisions and when advertisers can respond quickly the cash registers start ringing.
Twitter is public
Unlike Facebook, Twitter is generally accepted as a public forum and consumers are more than happy to be marketed to with an offer that is of value to them.
With more than 500m tweets per day and growing, the number of 'commercially addressable' tweets is set to increase allowing many more opportunities for advertisers to address consumers at the point of need or intent.
Twitter is mobile
Facebook have made a lot of changes to make up lost ground on the ever increasing switch to Mobile and in fairness they have made some progress but Twitter is truly mobile.
From our own campaigns, we are seeing more than 80% of conversations coming from mobile devices. The short form of the medium and ease of response is perfectly suited to the modern mobile consumer.
Twitter is complementary
Twitter is the perfect companion to other media such as TV. Doing things like enabling TV advertisers to promote their products to Twitter users that have just seen their adverts is already gaining some traction.
This is just the start and will be a hugely powerful route to revenue as it ceases to be a zero some game for advertisers when they choose to allocate their budgets across channels.
Twitter is already generating some strong revenue numbers from it’s current roster of advertisers predicted to be almost $1bn by eMarketer in 2014 but this is just the tip of the iceberg and don't be surprised if these numbers become a lot bigger very quickly.
This is good news for Twitter, good news for advertisers and good news for anybody that manages to get their hands on some shares when the IPO comes around.