Did Twitter Miss Their Goal-den Opportunity? - InformationWeek

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Commentary
7/3/2010
07:45 AM
Allen Stern
Allen Stern
Commentary
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Did Twitter Miss Their Goal-den Opportunity?

As the World Cup nears the final championship game, did Twitter miss an opportunity to kick the winning goal for the messaging service?

As the World Cup nears the final championship game, did Twitter miss an opportunity to kick the winning goal for the messaging service?Over the past month, the world has tuned in to watch their favorite teams compete in the World Cup (I am a fan of the German team). All of the social media services are attempting to capitalize on the event. Some services are using advertising to drive revenue and others are partnering with brands for co-branded World Cup news and information portals.

Marketing platform Twitter announced that the service has continued to grow in the number of messages (i.e. tweets) sent during World Cup games. While we don't know how many of these messages are sent through twitter.com and how many are sent through Twitter's third-party clients (e.g. Seesmic, Tweetdeck, etc.), it's clear that the service has been very popular with soccer fans.

Twitter created a World Cup section which aggregates messages around each game, country and the tournament in general. The section features content when a user posts a message using a tag that references one of the teams and/or games. Interestingly as I browsed around the section over the past few days, many of the messages are spam.

I believe Twitter missed a golden opportunity to show how strong the service is as a marketing platform. The World Cup section should have been amazingly rich in content...instead it's just a stream of content that, in general, will be mostly the same message over and over (e.g. goal, bad ref calls). Twitter should have worked to create a robust portal which combined messages from Twitter plus additional news, scores, game updates and live streaming video. There are a large number of partners Twitter could have worked with including CNN/MSNBC for news and ESPN for game updates. In addition, ESPN is streaming all of the games on their ESPN3 brand and these games should have been streamed within the Twitter World Cup portal.

The portal could have been sponsored by a number of brands which would have driven revenue directly to Twitter's bottom line. I understand that Twitter is trying to stay away from traditional online advertising as a revenue source but this portal would have been the perfect place for brand integration -- even if that integration was in non-traditional online advertising.

The portal would have provided Twitter with a simple way to display the flexibility of the service and to increase user engagement. If Twitter wants to continue to grow, the team will have to realize that the service is a marketing platform and nothing more. By embracing this concept, they will increase their ability to generate revenue and grow their userbase.

And Twitter isn't alone...third-party client services including Seesmic, Tweetdeck and Brizzly also missed the same opportunity to create a specific client for the World Cup. Let's hope that both Twitter and the client tools will learn and create rich, engaging portal sites for future events.

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