Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Conversation Targeting, the BuzzLogic war, and better ways to monetize Twitter

So I done tuned into the Twitter channel and saw two tweets from Vaspers.

vaspers No, Korporate Amerikkka, we don't want your stinking "Conversation Targeting" pumping your rotten lying ads into social media communities.

vaspers New! Dis-improved! "Conversation Targeting" marketing! Coming to a socnet near you! Arrrrr! Psycho-capitalism!

Well, any time I see the word "Amerikkka," you know that something has to be good. (Unfortunately, Vaspers didn't have space to use the f-word in his 140 character allotment.)

So I promised I'd research the link (at BizReport).

Until now, there has been little that advertisers could do to engage with online conversations, save actually getting involved in an online debate or forum. Now, BuzzLogic have come up with “Conversation Targeting” a way for advertisers to isolate influential discussions and target relevant online ads around them.

“Influence is topic-specific and dynamic – it changes over time,” said Rob Crumpler, president and CEO of BuzzLogic. “For the first time, BuzzLogic Ad Targeting is making it possible for advertisers to follow influential conversations as they move across the web, and target ads in the exact places where like-minded consumers are gathering to exchange ideas and opinions.”

Of course, everything depends on the execution:

Q. How does BuzzLogic Ad Targeting work?

A. BuzzLogic Ad Targeting is a new feature within the BuzzLogic application that is currently in beta testing throughout the remainder of the year.

Ad Targeting appears as a “tab” within the existing BuzzLogic application, allowing you to pinpoint powerful online discussions relevant to your products or brands, then launch a text or display ad campaign against these social media sites— all from the BuzzLogic dashboard.

First, plug in BuzzLogic conversation queries (these are similar to key word search terms) to discover who is driving online conversations on virtually any topic, as well as the community of sites listening in to a particular conversation.

Once you’ve identified the influencers behind the conversations, BuzzLogic uses the Google API to make it easy for you to create an AdWords text or display ad campaign directly from the BuzzLogic dashboard. Once it’s built, you can easily select the influencer lists to execute your text or display ad campaign against.

Well, once I've seen the execution, I'm not that hot on it either. A few comments:

First, if BuzzLogic is supposed to help in marketing, it's not very smart in its own marketing. There are two occurrences of the word "against" in the text above, which indicates that the market that they are targeting is a foe that needs to be battled and conquered. Not a swift way to position your product, people. Contrast this attitude to the attitude that Dave Winer espoused as the ideal one:

Long-term, however [both Google and Facebook] have problems because advertising is on its way to being obsolete. Facebook is just another step along the path. Advertising will get more and more targeted until it disappears, because perfectly targeted advertising is just information. And that's good!

So, how can Conversation Targeting be used in a way to complement, rather than battle, online conversations?

Let me throw another thought into the jumble - how is Twitter going to make money? Contrast the current Twitter with the current When I receive a text message from, the first few characters of the message contain an advertisement, which is then followed by the information I requested. (Similarly, phone calls to include audio advertisements.) As far as I can tell, advertisements are not targeted to the individual, but that may not be necessary in this case, because already knows one thing about its market:

Most people who use have automobiles.

That provides advertisers a clue about the market.

But what about Twitter? Obviously you can't include an advertisement on every tweet, but is there another solution that would allow Twitter to make money while not alienating its audience? The best possibility that I can think of so far is for Twitter to send one advertisement for every 100 tweets that you send, and to target that advertisement based upon the text in those 100 tweets.

Note that in my model, the host is the one who manages the ads, not some external group.

Incidentally, I am exhibiting my usual non-trendiness by talking about this in November. Mad Dog in the Fog already covered this in March. Back then, he included a conceptual graphic in which JetBlue would post messages on Twitter. A few months later, JetBlue did this. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Twitter is making anything off the deal.

Note: this post included content from Twitter users vaspers, davewiner, and mdoeff. Just shows you CAN use Twitter for business.

[mrontemp business] | [mrontemp politics] | [mrontemp technology] | [mrontemp tags]

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Todd said...

Hi Emp -

You're point about our use of "against" in the language above is spot on. Shame on us for communicating anything which could be thought of as combative. We've corrected our page to use the term "within," since the whole idea is that conversation targeting enables advertisers to insert ads "within" conversations bloggers are having (via content being shared via links and trackbacks), as opposed to "against" them! Hey, we're all about listening to conversations (like this one) and using them to improve our efforts, so please keep the feedback coming.

I do want to address one other concern in your post. BuzzLogic isn't randomly dropping ads within social media communities. Rather, we plug into ad networks, like the Google content network, who in turn serve ads on sites that already opt to run them. Our role is identifying the bloggers who are creating compelling content on certain subjects, and helping to funnel more ad dollars their way.

If you're interested, I'm happy to share a demo to get your thoughts.

Todd Parsons
tparsons A T

Ontario Emperor said...

Todd, I just saw your response today (January 4) and apologize for the tardy response. Thanks for the clarification, especially in the second paragraph.