Claire Beale On Advertising: Amid all the jitters, Twitter is the winner

Will anyone in advertising be sorry to see the back of 2009? No one at the sharp end of commercial media. If your business relied on advertising for its revenues this year, you've almost certainly been screwed.

Advertising revenue ... well, you know the story: down, down, down. Newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, posters, the web: content has been trimmed, jobs have been lost, quality has suffered. So perhaps it's not surprising that the real media success story of 2009 has been a medium that's barely sniffed the skirts of the ad industry. Twitter.

A mere whisper 12 months ago, Twitter has become the media noise of the year. Sixty million people worldwide are now regular users and Twitter has not only provided us with a new platform for news, it's also created it. From David Cameron's "too many Tweets make a Twat" to reassuring a concerned world that Peaches Geldof was unscathed after her car crashed on the way to Disneyland last week, Twitter is making headlines.

But we're here to talk about advertising and the ad industry has spent the past 12 months wondering if, when and how Twitter has a commercial value. Well, last week Dell gave adland an answer. The computer giant announced it's made $6.5m from exploiting Twitter for commercial gain.

Dell gave us a taster of its success back in June, revealing it had notched up revenues of $3m from Twitter over the last couple of years. Less than six months later those revenues have more than doubled. It won't stop there.

The computer company is using Twitter for all the usual customer interaction and relationship building you'd expect of any brand engaging in social media now. Basic. But it's also operating on a cruder, simpler level. Go to @DellOutlet, which has close to 1.5 million followers, and you'll find daily money-off offers that frequently get retweeted (and therefore endorsed) so that they spread out well beyond Dell's own fanbase.

Tweeters like that. Last month a study of 3,000 consumers conducted by Performics and ROI Research found that 44 per cent of Twitter users are happy to be alerted about promotions and special offers by the site. And, anyway, 44 per cent of them had already used Twitter to recommend a brand or a product, and 48 per cent had responded to an ad they'd seen on the microblog.

As portentous as this all sounds, it's not clear whether Twitter is actually delivering new additional revenue for the early-adopter advertisers who use it. Is Twitter nudging consumers into purchases and brand choices they wouldn't otherwise have made? As other advertisers muscle in on the opportunities, Twitter-generated promotions like Dell's could become nothing better than junk marketing; users will kick back if they feel exploited.

But you'd be hard pushed to find a big brand right now that isn't gnawing at the question of how it embraces the Twitter phenomenon. And not just because of its popularity; in a marketing world where budgets are frozen or shrinking, Twitter offers a free platform. For the moment. Twitter itself is gnawing away at the question of how to monetise advertisers on its site. Offering brands more detailed profile data on the people following them is one option. Location-based geo-tagging could also open up some interesting revenue streams.

We can be sure of a few things though. Twitter is showing no sign of waning, so advertisers' interest is mounting and Biz Stone and his team will find ways to make money from it all. Then all Twitter needs to do is pray its popularity holds until adland's economic fortunes turn.

Best in Show: Drench CHI

Lots of people like little furry animals. Not me. And anthropomorphism makes me want to stamp on a Beatrix Potter compendium. Which makes being a parent that bit harder.

So the new Drench ad by CHI is a challenge. It has hamsters in it. Playing musical instruments. Actually I think they're sucking on some chocolate spread smeared on weeny saxophones and trumpets. But the effect is very good.

In fact, people with a more cutesy cuddly side than me love this ad. The hamsters have Drench instead of ordinary water in their cage. It improves performance, hence their jazzy jamming session. And even I can see that nice people might find it charming and sweet and memorable.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Content Manager - Publishing

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst - High Wycombe - £30,000

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst role...

Guru Careers: Talent Manager

£30-35k (P/T - Pro Rata) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienc...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn