It might seem like all the clever, topical messages from brands on Twitter during big, national events are prepared on the spot, but as it turns out, most real-time marketing isn’t done in real-time at all. In fact, Twitter has an entire unit dedicated to helping brands figure out in advance which events will be trending on Twitter, and of course getting them to buy ads during them.
AdAge recently conducted an interview with Ross Hoffman, Twitter’s director of brand strategy, who heads up “Hatch,” an in-house unit at Twitter called that focuses solely on getting brands to spend money on Twitter during big events.
The interview had more than a few revealing tidbits about how brands and Twitter collaborate for the not-so-serendipitous real-time marketing moments.
1) Twitter works with brands and agencies well in advance to generate ideas for a real-time campaign:
Probably about a quarter in advance, we’ll prepare a laundry list of questions for a brand and an agency really getting at the root of what they want to do: [whether] it’s around an event, a product release, a key time of the year. We want to think about the innovation that we can push with them.
2) Twitter won’t just work with any marketer
[We’ll work with] a marketer that we’ve been working with for a while, that has committed resources to us and who we’ve committed resources to, whether it’s time [or] revenue. These are not things that we’re going to work with a marketer who just got a [Twitter] handle or has just dipped their toes in the water with our promoted product. They know us really well; we know their teams really well.
3) Brands still make mistakes with real-time marketing, but it’s better to be quick than be late by having too many checkposts in place.
At the same time, you can’t have a 10-step scenario and flow-chart for when you’re going to publish a tweet. We’re a real-time platform. If you’re second or third in that moment, it can work against you.
4) Sometimes the biggest obstacle for real-time marketing is the legal department (but its getting better)
A frustration I have, which is lessening: I’m starting to see a better relationship between marketers and their legal departments. They could often lead to some friction. Think about it: a marketer wants to take risks; an attorney is paid to make sure the risk is very granular.