Shopkick ‘Kicks’ Showrooming Effect in the Teeth; Drives $110 Million in Revenue to Retail Partners

Shopkick ‘Kicks’ Showrooming Effect in the Teeth; Drives $110 Million in Revenue to Retail Partners

Posted: 01 Feb 2012 10:52 AM PST

Shopkick partners can breathe a sigh of relief in the wake of all of the talk about losing in-store customers to “showrooming,’ as it’s been deemed.

The mobile shopping app drove more than $110 million worth of in-store revenue for its partner retailers in 2011, which was the first full year it was in operation. Currently, Shopkick works with 11 national retail brands in the US, including BestBuy, Target, Macy’s and Old Navy.

With consumers researching products in brick and mortar stores, then going online to make a purchase, showrooming has become a damning problem for retail brands. Shopkick sees itself as an antidote to that dilemma.

“Some mobile services drive people out of stores, not into stores, with online comparison shopping that turn stores into ‘showrooms.’” said Cyriac Roeding, CEO of Shopkick. “Shopkick drives people into stores by rewarding them with things they love just for visiting.”

Path to Purchase

Shopkick aims to be the single location-based shopping app for retailers, brands and shoppers alike. People don’t switch wallets or outfits going from the grocery store to the mall, so assuming they’ll want separate apps for the various ways and places they shop ignores consumer preferences. To best serve all its constituents, Shopkick rewards behavior throughout the path to purchase, including:

  • § Discovery: Shopkick users interact with stores in the app 150 million times per month, and that allows brand and retailers to reach them at home and on-the go. Media partnerships with InStyle and the CW amplify the discovery.
  • § Visits: Shopkick uses what it refers to as presence detection technology that rewards shoppers from the moment they walk into partner stores.
  • § Purchase: Thanks to a recent partnership with Visa, Shopkick rewards shoppers when they make a purchase at a participating partner retailer using their Visa debit or credit card as part of the Buy & Collect program.

Presence Detection Key to Shopkick Success

Shopkick’s patent-pending presence technology is what sets it apart from other apps, which rely on often inaccurate GPS. Thanks to a small box located within the store, which emits a signal that the app detects and decodes, it knows the shopper is actually in the store and, as a result, provides reward points, called “kicks” to the shopper.

Shopkick by the Numbers

Based on numbers reported to SCT, Shopkick has:

  • § 3 million active users;
  • § 1 billion in-app offers have been viewed;
  • § 5 million walk-ins to partner stores in December 2011;
  • § 10 million products have been scanned.

There is even more evidence that Shopkick works for retailers and brands. For example: 

  • § During the 2011 holiday shopping season, shopkick users interacted with stores through the app more than 3.1 million times per day on average, up from just over 1 million in August 2011;
  • § There were approximately 150 million interactions with retailers from the launch of Old Navy on November 10, 2011 through the end of the year.

As to who is using the app, 64 percent of all Shopkick users are younger women, most of whom are moms. Since women are responsible for 85 percent of all purchases, that certainly bodes well for retailers.

Shopkick Partner Metrics

Lastly, here are some metrics related to Shopkick partners:

  • § Eleven national retail partners:  American Eagle Outfitters, Best Buy, Crate and Barrel, Macy’s, Simon Property Group (the nation’s largest mall operator), The Sports Authority, Target, Toys“R”Us, west elm and The Wet Seal;
  • § In 2011, Best Buy, Simon Property Group, Crate & Barrel and west elm expanded their shopkick program include all locations nationwide;
  • § New partners in 2011: Old Navy (rolled out nationally at launch), Visa, InStyle, CoverGirl, Disney, Levi’s, Libman, Mead Johnson, Meguiar’s, Mr. Clean, Olay, Revlon, Tilex, Trident, and VTech;
  • § Over 35 major brand partners including Clorox, Disney, HP, Intel, Kraft Foods, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Gerber, Hasbro, Nickelodeon and more;

Shopkick’s goal for 2012 is to do more of the same – continually increase the number of retail partners and app users, which should translate into more dollars being spent in the store and not on Amazon.



Four Steps to Success in the Digital World | Thinking | Prophet

Twitter Launches Brand Pages, Forrester’s First Take

Twitter Launches Brand Pages: What it Means for You

Posted by Melissa Parrish on December 9, 2011

Yesterday, Twitter announced the launch of its highly-anticipated brand pages.  The move is being lauded as the next logical step for the social network in attempting to bring its offerings in line with competitive services for companies– like the already-launched Google+ brand pages and the perennial favorite Facebook pages.  But how exactly will the changes help brands or change the way they interact?

First, the the pages offer marketers more branding opportunities.  A large banner on the top of the page will let you show off your logo or other creative without worry that it’ll get lost behind the Twitter stream like your custom background images may on your current pages.

Second, you’ll be able to make a tweet sticky, but pinning it to the top of your stream– with media like photos or videos– for as long as you choose.

These features sound– and are– good news to marketers who’ve wanted better tools to create a destination for their audiences on Twitter.  But remember, the majority of interaction with your followers on Twitter happens in the stream, not on your brand page.  So while these new tools will let you position your Twitter presence better to capture new followers, you still have to have a clear strategy for engaging your followers once you’ve got them…

Which brings me to the change that I think will make the biggest difference to marketers– and it’s not on the brand pages themselves.  The brand pages were launched as part of a general redesign, which includes a feature they’re calling “Discover”.   Think of it as a more robust– and smarter– version of clicking on a hashtag.   Twitter describes it like this, “When you use Discover, you’ll see results reflecting your interests—based on your current location, what you follow and what’s happening in the world. As you use Twitter more, Discover gets even better at serving up more content just for you.”

The content a user explores in Discover will include images and video in-line, creating an experience that almost looks more like Tumblr than the Twitter you’re used to.  All of this means that while the design of your brand pages will be more compelling, the content you create is where you can really have an impact.  If you’re looking to take the fullest advantage of this Twitter redesign, you should be thinking about how you can make your content as compelling and relevant as possible to your audience.

Shocking advice?  Certainly not.  It’s the same principle that successful Twitter marketers have been following for years. (More on that, and other Twitter principles, in an upcoming report.)  But now you can expect that your most creative elements will be seen in the stream– and your most relevant content will be Discovered by more users.  So the biggest change isn’t what you’re doing on Twitter, but rather how seriously you take your Twitter content strategy.

So what do you think, marketers?  Are you excited about the changes?

Study: Auto-Posting to Facebook Decreases Likes and Comments by 70%

September 6th, 2011

Facebook Pages that automatically publish content to the news feed through third-party apps such as HootSuite, TweetDeck, and NetworkedBlogs receive an average of 70% less Likes and comments on their posts per fan, according to a new study by Applum, developer of Page tool EdgeRank Checker. The study says the difference is likely due to Facebook reducing the prominence of posts published by third-party APIs, and Facebook collapsing updates from the same API from across a user’s friends and Liked Pages.

As Likes and comments increase a post’s prominence in the news feed, driving more impressions and clicks, all Pages using auto-posting apps should look to switch to manual posting if possible.

Many companies, public figures, organizations, and news outlets (including our own) use auto-posting apps to create Facebook Page updates by syndication their Twitter posts or converting their blog post headlines. This increases efficiency but relieving the admins of these accounts from having to copy and paste headlines and links from one platform to another.

The practice is subjectively considered  sub-optimal, though, as different platforms have different publishing capabilities and norms. Facebook for instance allows for rich media posts, so authors can select a thumbnail image and caption along with posting a link and headline. It’s typical for Twitter accounts to post up to a dozen times a day but that volume could be viewed as spam on Facebook. Therefore, auto-posts can appear robotic and less compelling.

EdgeRank Checker’s study is the latest of several reports we’ve covered that reveal obstacles to engagement on Facebook. A recent PageLever study showed the average Page gets only 7.49 daily unique news feed impressions on its posts and only 3.19 daily unique Page views per 100 fans.

EdgeRank Checker’s Data

Now, EdgeRank Checker has revealed empirical data that automatically published posts perform worse than manually published one. EdgeRank Checker analyzed over 1,000,000 Facebook updates by more than 50,000 Pages with a combined reach of over 1,000,000,000 fans including duplicates. It then calculated the engagement ratio of the total Likes and comments on a Page’s post divided by the total fans of the Page the at the time of the post for the ten most popular third-party publishing APIs.

The study determined that compared to the engagement of posts published manually to Facebook’s web or mobile interfaces, the reduction in engagement ratios of the top third-party publishing APIs are:

  • HootSuite – 69% reduction
  • TweetDeck – 73% reduction
  • Sendible – 75% reduction
  • Networked Blogs – 76% reduction
  • RSS Graffiti – 81% reduction
  • Twitter – 83% reduction
  • Publisher – 86% reduction
  • twitterfeed – 90% reduction
  • – 91% reduction
  • Social RSS – 94% reductions

These averaged out such that posts published through a third-party auto-posting app saw roughly 70% fewer Likes and comments than those published through Facebook’s first-party interfaces. This is in part due to Facebook’s direct punishment of the EdgeRank of posts by third-party APIs. Also, if a user’s news feed contain multiple posts from a single API, whether from a single author or several different Pages and friends, the posts are collapsed and must be unfolded to be seen.

Google+ users will soon begin to see Google+ posts in their Google Search results.

The Huffington Post     First Posted: 8/13/11 06:05 PM ET Updated: 8/13/11 06:05 PM ET

This feature is activated only when you’re signed in to your Google Account, according Product Manager Sagar Kamdar, who posted the announcement on the Google Search Blog.

When you’re searching Google for, say, a restaurant, you might see that some results include content shared publicly by members of your Google+ Circles.

Kamdar detailed the new tool thus:

Let’s say I’m logged into my Google Account, and I search on Google for [uncle zhou queens]. I’ve heard a lot of great things about this restaurant, and we’re visiting NYC soon, so we want to figure out all the best eats in town. I also happen to have Andrew Hyatt in one of my Google+ circles. Oh, and it turns out he just made a public post on his Google+ account about Uncle Zhou in Queens […] Now not only do I get some great reviews on the web, I get a review from a friend about a restaurant with recommendations about what dishes to order.

Check out an example of what Google+ content looks like when attached to a Google Search result:

This new feature will roll out to Google+ users “over the coming days,” wrote Kamdar, noting also that private Google+ posts will not appear in Google Search.

Google plans to further integrate its social network into search results by reintroducing Realtime Search, a recently axed feature that drew heavily from posts on Twitter. “Our vision is to have include Google+ information along with other realtime data from a variety of sources,” a Google rep said in July, shortly after the search tool disappeared.

Back in February, Google updated its Social Search feature to enrich Search results with content from Google Account users’ friends on Blogger, YouTube, Quora, Flickr, Google Reader, Twitter and others social sites. This was prior to the launch of Google+, and some wondered at the time about the usefulness of placing content from social networks into search results.

The recent addition of Google+ content won’t fundamentally change Social Search. As explained by Search Engine Land:

Google Social Search continues to operate as before. Things shared socially at places like Twitter and Facebook by those you’re connected with may appear with annotations and rank better in results. […] The main difference is, as Google’s post says, is that things you share on Google+ itself are now part of the mix.

Google+ has grown at an astonishing rate since its launch in late June. An August study released by comScore found Google+ to be the fastest-growing social network ever. Indeed, at the time of the study, Google+ had amassed 25 million members.

And Google isn’t resting on its laurels when it comes to growing the site. Thursday saw the launch of Google+ Games, a social gaming network that includes titles like ‘Angry Birds’ and ‘Bejeweled.’ Among the list of developers jumping on board with Google+Games was Zynga, Facebook’s gaming cash cow.

How I’m Using Google+ (Hint: It’s About Relevance)

As i continue to kick the tires and try to juggle, distinguish and appropriate categorize Google+, I found Melissa Parrish’s blog post insightful. Pricepoints comments follow hers.

Forrester Blogs » Marketing & Strategy » Interactive Marketing Professionals » Melissa Parrish
How I’m Using Google+ (Hint: It’s About Relevance)

Posted by Melissa Parrish on August 8, 2011

If you were to glance at my Google+ profile, you’d probably think I’m practically inactive. But what you’re seeing is the public view of a very targeted set of actions, based on relevance.

I like to have different kinds of conversations with different people, so when I share content it’s with circles that designate not only relationship but topics too, and Google+ makes it really easy for me to be highly relevant in this way. Take, for example, politics. I like to talk about it, but I’m rarely interested in fighting, so when I share a politically focused news article, it’s not enough to be in my Friends circle. To see it, you have to be in my Friends-Politics circle, where I’ve included people who I know I’ll have an interesting conversation with that won’t result in insults and multiple exclamation points.

There is one thing missing if relevance is an aim of the platform. As of today, my relevance-based circles only apply to what I share with others. What would be especially helpful would be a way to limit the content I see from others in that circle to the topic I’ve assigned it. For example, I’m following Christian Oestlien, one of the Google+ product managers, specifically for updates about Google+. So while the YouTube music videos and Onion articles he posts are probably funny, I can’t say I’m particularly interested in seeing them from him. Now, if one of the people in my Friends-Hilarious circle posted them, that’s another story . . ..

So what are the implications for brands?

Once business pages become available, brands may get the most from Google+ by prioritizing relevance over scale, regardless of how quickly the user base grows. If your audience uses the service like I do, it’s going to be in your best interest to get your brand in our Brands-Deals I’ll Use or our Brands-Great Links or our Brands-Things I Want For My Birthday circles. You’re not going want to end up in Brands-General.

Since business pages haven’t been revealed yet, I can only offer ideas on how brands might be able to accomplish this, but 2 possibilities come to mind:

1) Brands can launch their Google+ presences with a single, focused content theme first (deals, links, new products, etc.). This would mean that users who add you to their circles are interested in that specific content. Then your interaction with customers will be around that particular content theme so engagement expectations will be set on both sides.

2) Consumers could tell the brand what type of content they want, and the brand would create circles and share content accordingly. If business pages work mostly like consumer pages do today, then this would be a manual process involving something like comments from users, spreadsheets, and manual circle creation — probably not something a lot of brands will have the time and energy to do. But this could be a really compelling strategy if Google were to build an easy way for marketers to collect content-theme “opt-ins” and auto-populate circles based on that info. That would allow marketers to diversify the content they’re sharing to maximize the size of their Google+ audience, while still respecting relevance needs.

What business pages will do remains to be seen, and it’ll be some time before true user trends emerge that will show whether I’m alone on the relevance thing or not. In the meantime, what do you think? Is Google+ all about relevance for you? How are you using the platform?

First, I believe the significance initiative will command the appropriate “marketing” resources and commitment to establish it’s value. My experience and take on Google, like many, extremely bright and clever….but like some of my friend’s children’s get bored and move to quickly to another cool thing.

It can be boring to understand the user experience nuance that really makes the service or feature “can’t live without it popular”. Most recently Unless you’ve been asleep the battle over internet (overly dramatic I admit), due to the ability of Facebook to limit data access has finally gotten Google’s attention. It will impact their revenue source, search, and therefore will maintain their attention.

Six Ways Google+ Is Winning — and Losing

Six Ways Google+ Is Winning — and Losing

Why the Social Platform Is a Promising Addition to the Real-Time Marketing World

Published: August 03, 2011

Having played around with Google+ for a few weeks now, here are my raw thoughts on the social platform and its role in the real-time marketing world. Some of these thoughts made it into this Ad Agestory for which I was interviewed last week.

1. Finally a Google social-networking bet that has a chance of surviving.
There’s no question, this is Google’s best bet ever in the social-networking space. There have been so many false starts and halfhearted efforts that I had begun to wonder whether Google could every crack this space. The reason why things are different this time — rather than incubating the product in isolation in Google Labs, from the get-go Google+ is integrated into the rest of the Google ecosystem through single sign on, the navigation bar and the ability to add in contacts and friends. There’s a lot more integration to do but it works effectively as a real-time stream of content being shared to you and from you based on social context.

2. Google’s challenge is that we simply do not know how Google+ fits into our lives.
Maybe Google+ has been intentionally silent on that for a good reason. Facebook has become part of our digital habit — I sit down for a cup of coffee in the morning and I go on Facebook to scan my news feed. I find some really compelling content while surfing the web and I tweet about it to the world. It’s not clear if Google wants Google+ to be an add-on to my digital habits or a replacement. A lot of people — the 20 million people who are playing around on Google+ are asking themselves that question. The funny thing is that Google+ has the best of Facebook and the best of Twitter — you have the ability to broadcast and select closed groups who should receive that broadcast. So is it meant to be a bridge between the two but do we really need that? Targeting for brands in a real-time fashion this way is extremely powerful.

3. Google+ misses a true radical innovation opportunity but all is not lost.
Google’s historic strength has been its search-engine algorithms and its blistering-fast technology backbone. Simply speaking, it has the best scientists and its algorithms are unmatched. That’s why its the undisputed leader in search. But in Google+ I have to manually find my friends and add them to circles manually. It is time consuming and can quickly get overwhelming managing all of these friends and circles.

If I could log in and have Google+ make recommendations based on how I have interacted with people in the past that would be valuable. The home run would be if they could add a “Suggested Circles” functionality that helps me manage my networks. They do something similar in Gmail today with “Important first” and the “Priority Inbox” functionality, so this wouldn’t be a big step for them. After all, who wants to go about adding friends and categorizing them yet again. To take that thought a step further, Google+ could also suggest brands and products in a similar fashion.

4. Google+ can really work for brand marketers if we’re given the right tools.
From a brand perspective, two things matter most — knowing where, when and how we can engage meaningfully with our consumers and in turn being mindful of how they’d like us to engage with them. As marketers, we absolutely want to find ways to engage with our consumers on Google+ that are organic to the Google+ philosophy and in ways that consumers are using the platform. But to be effective we need very strong analytics. We have to be smart in how we engage — we can’t be everywhere or do everything, so we need analytics that help us make decisions on how and where to best reach our consumers at moments in time when we matter. Google has said that when they do launch brand pages they will have strong analytics. Google understands brands because they have worked closely with us on search and they know what analytics we need, so I am happy to wait for that.

Keeping in mind the importance of people’s privacy, we’d also want to know psychographic information about who we’re engaging. This is not an anonymous platform, so we always have to respect that. If Pepsi could reach out on Google+ and engage a Pepsi fan and then also be able to engage with their friend circle or their work circle that would be a win. In the end we want to participate in a way that makes sense for the platform, consumers and the brand.

5. Google+ functions effectively as a real-time sharing engine.
There’s no question in my mind that Google+ is strongest as a real-time content-sharing engine for me to push out specific pieces of content to specific people circles. Google+ integrates more seamlessly with YouTube, Google Photos and Google Music as Ian Schafer emphasized in an Ad Age piece. That is its greatest strength. It’s something that I can’t do with Twitter (lists are for viewing tweets from select people, not for sharing out tweets to groups), and while I could do it with Facebook, the people-management feature has gotten cumbersome. It’s also symmetrical limiting me from controlling distribution the way I may want to.

6. Google+ streams are very different to the Facebook newsfeed.
That’s an advantage. If someone gave me one wish in the world, I’d probably use it to understand how Facebook’s edge-rank system actually worked. Like the Google-search algorithm, it’s a black box and I’m not exactly sure how many users (and which users) may see a specific post from one of my brands. From a marketing standpoint, that’s a bit of a problem.

However, in the case of Google+ everything published appears in the stream in chronological fashion. I have a much better sense of what a user will see. Now, this can certainly get overwhelming but there’s absolute clarity in terms of what will make it into a user’s feed. You could argue that the Google model is simplistic and not scalable but what’s certain is that it forces you to take those circles seriously. And for Google that’s a good thing, and for marketers it makes Google+ more valuable.

It’s going to be fascinating watching the evolution of Google+. To get 20 million people to play with it in a manner of weeks is no joke. The social network is definitely off to a good start but there’s obviously a lot more to do to create true stickiness of the Facebook variety. One thing is for sure, if Google were to integrate the Google+ stream and comments into its search-engine algorithm, that alone may provide enough incentive for a lot more people to take it even more seriously. Only time will tell whether Google decides to go in that direction or not.

“Are Your Customers Becoming Digital Junkies?” McKinsey Quarterly

Bertil Chappuis, Brendan Gaffey, and Parviz Parvizi

Consumer behavior is shifting rapidly as more people use digital devices and platforms intensively.

New McKinsey research highlights a dramatic increase in the intensity with which people use digital devices and platforms. Nearly 50 percent of US online consumers are now advanced users of smartphones, social networks, and other emerging tools—up from 32 percent in 2008.

We have been tracking consumers’ digital habits through a series of surveys covering more than 100,000 respondents across North America, Europe, and Asia.1 Our 2010
US findings highlighted the growth of advanced multidigital and rich-media segments: the people most likely to be early adopters of new technologies (whom we label “digital-media junkies”), often younger men; those spending more time on social networks (“digital communicators”), often women; and those more likely to consume Internet-based video (“video digerati”). Meanwhile, we have seen a decline in segments focused primarily on one kind of digital use (such as e-mail or gaming), as well as late adopters whose digital consumption is superficial. Behind these broad category shifts are meaningful changes in how consumers use core technologies.

Social networks as communications gateways

Social networks, particularly Facebook, are emerging as the dominant digital-communications channels.
For people aged 34 and under, they already are the preferred channel (by minutes of use per day), displacing
e-mail, texting, and phone calls. Social-network use, growing swiftly among all segments of our survey population, has doubled
among those over 55. Such networks also are becoming information portals for people seeking items such as videos, photos, and
content posted by friends. In our latest survey, 33 percent of the respondents said they use social networks to navigate content
on the Web, up from 13 percent in 2008. While search engines continue to be the leading way consumers access online content, the use of social networks is growing.
As consumers spend more time on them, decisions about what to purchase often reflect inter- actions with friends and other influencers. In response, leading marketers are adapting their strategies to reach increasingly networked consumers and placing more stress on tactics such as word-of-mouth marketing and storytelling.

Smartphone as ‘Swiss Army knife’
As the usage and processing power of smartphones increase in tandem with the rising speed of
3G and 4G data networks,2 mobile devices are invading the domains of single-purpose gear such as game consoles and portable media players, as well as PCs.

Advertisers must refine marketing plans so that they reflect new video- viewing behavior, while getting creative about targeting users who are time-shifting and
dividing their attention among platforms.

Smartphones are also becoming
the device of choice for e-mail, Web browsing, and product research.
A third of smartphone owners prefer using it for Web browsing or
e-mail even when they are near PCs. Over the past two years, iPhone
users have spent 45 percent more time e-mailing on their smart- phones and 15 percent less time
e-mailing on their PCs. More than 60 percent of smartphone users would
consider buying goods with it or have already done so.

As the power and functionality of devices grow, the possibilities for making money from mobile platforms will continue to improve. We found, for instance, that smartphone users already are more accustomed to paying for digital content and services than traditional online users are. Three-quarters
of iPhone users, for example, now pay for one or more apps each month, though most remain free. As more products are distributed over mobile channels, greater
competition will raise the importance of design, ease of use, and
new mobile payment options. These findings are good news for
content and service providers that wonder if mobile solutions will deliver real returns.

Internet video: Challenging traditional TV

As digital platforms multiply, consumer video-viewing habits continue to change. Among
our survey respondents, 69 percent now view videos on their PCs and

Digital consumers fall into seven distinct groups characterized by the types of digital experiences they prefer.

US example

Source: 2008, 2009, and 2010 McKinsey surveys of ~20,000 US Internet users, aged 13–64

33 percent on their smartphones. Twenty-four percent view
Internet content on their TVs—a percentage that has tripled
over the past two years as Internet- enabled game consoles, DVD players, DVRs, and TVs have proliferated. Although these users
are 1.5 times more likely than the general population to say that
they intend to cancel their pay-TV service, only a quarter of them are satisfied with the experience.

That should open the door to new areas of competition and innovation; pay-TV companies, for example,
are starting to offer their programming across tablets and mobile devices.

Web search and video providers, meanwhile, see opportunities
for services that help consumers navigate the fragmented domain
of online video, a role similar to that of traditional TV-programming packagers. Advertisers must
refine marketing plans so that they reflect this new video-viewing behavior and get creative about targeting users who are time- shifting and dividing their attention among platforms.

We have seen similar digital disruptions in other key platforms, such as gaming, e-publishing,
and music. The digital revolution, still in its earliest days, will continue to upend how we interact, entertain ourselves, buy, and work.

1 This article focuses on recent results from our US research, covering 20,000 people since 2008. Respondents aged
13 to 64 with Internet access were asked about their digital behavior in areas including social interactions, e-commerce, video preferences, and device ownership.
2 The term 3G, or third generation, refers to
a generation of multiple standards for mobile phones and mobile telecommunications devices, while 4G is the fourth generation of cellular wireless standards— with higher speeds.

Bert Chappuis is a director in McKinsey’s Silicon Valley office, Brendan Gaffey is a principal in the Dallas office, and Parviz Parvizi is an associate principal
in the Boston office.

Copyright © 2011 McKinsey & Company. All rights reserved. We welcome your comments on this article. Please send them to

Sponsored Tweets / Forrester’s POV

A repost of a Forrester summary Sponsored Tweets

Executive Summary

New product launches involve many moving parts and require tight synchronization between product management, product marketing, sales, service, and engineering — as well as a multitude of third parties — to meet corporate goals. Customer and developer feedback has emerged as an essential information source to help disparate groups quickly build consensus regarding launch priorities and decisions, which decreases time-to-market. As a result, tech marketers seek better ways to more frequently incorporate customer and developer feedback into the product launch process to introduce a new product that is truly ready for the marketplace. By monitoring and measuring social media conversations on new products throughout the product launch cycle, technology marketers can gain valuable and timely customer and developer feedback to help accelerate, improve, and influence product launch readiness.


Twitters Bad Idea






Posted by George Colony on July 13, 2011

Twitter is searching for a way to make money — a prerequisite for a  Bubble II IPO (

An idea it’s been pushing since April is something called promoted tweets

( — auctioning the rights to place advertising at the top of popular Twitter streams.

Google places ads — why can’t Twitter? One big fat reason:  Twitter’s ad imposes itself into a discussion among real people. It’s as if you held a dinner party and an uninvited stranger barged into your house screaming self-serving non-sequitors — and you can’t get rid of him. A search ad has the potential to help you; a “conversation ad” is simply disruptive.

Promoted tweets appear to be directed at the B2B space. Only one problem: Forrester’s research indicates that Twitter possesses very limited influence over B2B transactions, at least in the technology space. Twitter influences one half as many Business Technology (BT) buyers as Facebook, and only a third that of LinkedIn. You can find a very short precis of the report here ( . Promoted tweets are a bad idea on many levels — Twitter should scrap them and head back to the whiteboard in search of a less intrusive way to justify its irrational market valuation. I’d love to get your comments..

Pricepoints : Some interesting comments show a variety of POV’s. I can’t disagree with Josh’s accurate assertion of Twitter’s rights as a business to monetize its system. Capitalism, right? As a marketer, I see the value of right time, right place relevant communication. Relevant is key and open to debate sans clarification.  And, importantly, still subscribe to the theory of market correction, in this case, marketing‘s  ability to correct itself. Bottom line for me, the promoted tweet needs to add value, not be a re-tweet retread and most certainly be identified as an injection into the conversation.

Assessment is right on (/george_colony/11-07-13-twitters_bad_idea#comment-12627)

Comment from Jason Freeman (not verified) on W ed, 07/13/2011 – 11:18

Your assessment is right on. That said, would love to know what you think the revenue model should be. Thank you for the post.

Get used to those Twitter ads (/george_colony/11-07-13-twitters_bad_idea#comment-12628)

Comment from Josh Bernoff on W ed, 07/13/2011 – 11:19

Twitter has to find a way to make money — just like Facebook and Google and Yahoo. It’s a heck of a lot better if it makes that money from advertisers than from charging users.

Promoted tweets don’t get in the middle of conversation any more than paid search results “get in the middle of” natural search or display ads “get in the middle of” the news in the New York Times. It’s just that we’ve gotten used to those other ads — meaning we know how to read them and how to ignore them.

In my opinion (I’d say “in my humble opinion” but nobody ever called me humble) the problem is that the ads look TOO MUCH like tweets. I’d be happier if the ads looked more like ads. Then people would read them or not, just as they do with any other ads. Twitter needs more advertising.

The problem with promoted Tweets… (/george_colony/11-07-13-twitters_bad_idea#comment-12638)

Comment  from George Colony on W ed, 07/13/2011  – 15:01

There’s a big difference between promoted tweets and ads in the New York Times or in Google search. Tweet topics and streams are created by the users — they are private ideas and conversations. Ads in the Times work because that company created value (the articles), so readers will put up with ads. Same goes with Google — that company deployed its amazing algorithms to get the users accurate search results — so the user will put up with the ads. But let’s say you created a conference, let’s say SXSW as an example. You spend a lot of money getting people to your conference, you rent a facility, and you create a hash tag for the conference, #SXSW. The attendees (and others) now use Twitter to talk about the conference and the content, but there’s an interloper who bid to persistently appear at the top of that stream — a very, very strategic spot. That’s unfair to the content provider (SXSW) and disruptive to the Twitter users. Ads only work when there’s a fair trade at work. In the promoted tweet case, that’s not the case.