Twitter Using Trending Topics for Digital Marketing

Twitter, the simple 140 character status update social media site is experimenting with more opportunities in the realm of trending topics to advance their availability of digital marketing opportunities.

Twitter trending topics allow Twitter users to see what other users in their chosen geographic location (country or well-known city) are talking about. By clicking on the topic, users can see all updates that contain that topic.

Recently Twitter confirmed that Pixar paid for a trending topic placement for the recently released Toy Story 3. The topic was marked as “Promoted” taking away any potential hidden issues.

Thank You Flickr User: tsand

There is no doubt that somewhere in the release of Twitter updates there is a hidden potential for high volume advertising media placements. The question I find myself asking now is if paid trending topics is the answer. A few things to think about:

If trending topics are paid for, does that take away the relevancy and uniqueness of the feature? It is possible that followers of trending topics will lose interest in the feature all together if it is overly populated with paid placements.

As an advantage, keeping the ads in the trending topic field may discourage growth of ads within the Twitter updates field and crowded banners, taking away from personalized Twitter backgrounds.

The company sponsoring the promoted tweet has an opportunity to take control of their reach on the social media platform and increase conversation, but only to a certain extent. What happens if the topic is negatively tagged and  revealed upon following the trending topic updates? This presents itself to be more of a problem for competing brands than for “Toy Story 3,” but a concern all the same.

Will this earn enough revenue as an ad source? Currently, the program requires a double-click for payment, which means that the twitter user has to click on the trending topic, and then on the link within the actual tweet. Do enough Twitter users follow the link to make the program worth the potential of losing the relevancy of trending topics? And is there more opportunity for Twitter to attract competing brands to this platform?

It may not be a bad idea for Twitter to limit who has access to the trending topic spots, like movies, non-profit organizations or other less competitive companies.

Twitter has shown its potential, now it is up to them to decide what to do. The idea of promoted trending topics as a use of digital marketing is growing on me (possibly because Toy Story 3 was a pilot promotion to the idea) as a way to make Twitter users aware of things that may have been outside of their radar. However, if not well thought out before implementation, Twitter could have quite a mess on its hands.