Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Here’s a Real Google-Twitter Story: Google Turns Tweets Into Ad Dollars


Back to the real world. Here’s a real, confirmed tie-up between Twitter and Google: The search engine is giving marketers the chance to turn their Twitter messages into ads.

AdAge reports that Google (GOOG) is now packaging tweets into an AdSense campaign and that Intuit’s (INTU) Turbo Tax is the first company to sign up. Unlike a similar campaign that publisher Glam Media just launched, the ads only aggregate tweets from a specific Twitter account. So in this case, the ads will be composed of the five most recent tweets from

AdAge doesn’t spell out whether or not Twitter is an official partner in the offering, and I’m not sure the company would need to be since Twitter doesn’t make any copyright claims on its users’ messages. But hard to imagine the Twitter folks haven’t at least given this one a tacit approval.

Bigger unknown: Beyond the novelty factor, what’s the appeal here? Take another look at the Turbo Tax Twitter feed and tell me that any grouping of five messages would make for a compelling ad. The Turbo Tax people say that’s not the point, exactly.

“‘We could have used this as an acquisition vehicle, but we’re looking at it more like a conversational vehicle,’ [Intuit marketing director Seth Greenberg] said. ‘We’re measuring this [in part by] how many followers can we get. Can we get to 100,000 by allowing people to know we’re a resource? We’re not going to hard sell you on the product, but we want people to know there are lots of people here who can help answer your questions.’…

Mr. Greenberg said he’s still trying to work out exactly what a Twitter follower is worth from a marketing point of view, such as whether people have a greater propensity to become a customer when they’re following a brand on Twitter or how valuable those customers are.”

OK, fair enough. It’s an experiment, just like every other attempt to mix Twitter and advertising to date. No harm in that. If any of these ever pan out, it might just end up justifying a sky-high price for Biz, Ev and crew.