Twitter's first association with an advertiser comes in the form of a branded stream of thoughts from executives at outfits as diverse as Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits and Brigham Young University. The Microsoft-sponsored ExecTweets site is an experimental project developed by Twitter along with social media and ad company Federated Media and the Redmond firm. It could be the start of an extended relationship between Twitter and Federated Media.
"The relationship with Twitter is such that we expect that to be a long fruitful relationship in which we will bring many brands into the space," said FM spokesman Matt DiPietro.
The goal of the effort for Microsoft is to promote its Business Insights Web site, which features articles, case studies and demos for entrepreneurs. The broader mission, however, could be devising some sort of viable monetization model for Twitter -- something that doesn't clutter the platform with unwanted ad messages in the process.
"Twitter is contacted regularly by brands interested in sponsoring innovative experiences based on topics of interest," noted a post published Monday on the Twitter blog regarding the new program. "So if you're a major brand and you want to sponsor a topic-focused social media experience with Twitter, we suggest Federated Media -- they'll fix you up right."
"[Twitter] literally gave input into how it's put together," said DiPietro. "They approved it in such a way that it is created in a first class way." More than simply connecting Microsoft to Twitter, FM designed the ExecTweets site and has dedicated staff "curating" the site by monitoring Twitter posts and nominations for more executives to join the select group of execs.
The site compiles Twitter posts from people including Norman Hajjar, EVP and chief marketing officer at Guitar Center, Popeye's CIO Tim Davis, Interactive Advertising Bureau Chief Randall Rothenberg, and Brigham Young CIO Kelly Flanagan. Top execs at Microsoft, FM, and Twitter also made the list.
Microsoft "wanted to enable the business community with a tool that makes communication more real-time, more efficient, and more focused," continued DiPietro. Microsoft has worked with FM as an ad partner in the past, he said.
FM in the past has created custom programs for advertisers that incorporate social media. In addition to enabling advertising for Facebook applications, the firm has developed sites for brands like computer networking company Cisco. In 2007, FM asked tech bloggers to describe what they believed a "human network" is, creating a page of writings related to Cisco's "human network" campaign tagline.
DiPietro called the ExecTweets site "very much an experiment," but said the company "expects lots of brands to want to get involved." He added, "It's safe to say we have significant interest."
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.
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