New ad service promises to connect Twitter users with local advertisers

Three weeks into my new gig at Next Issue Media. So far, so good. The family is still down in So Cal, so I have been on my own for the past three weeks. Luckily, there is this fantastic Website called airbnb.com, which lets you “rent nightly from real people in 15,909 cities in 186 countries.” I highly recommend you check it out. It sure beats staying at a motel. Not only are the rates fair but the real value is in meeting people like Tim (my host) and Rohit (my co-tenant).

It is actually Rohit I am going to write about. Like many others coming to Silicon Valley, Rohit is an entrepreneur looking for a break for his startup company WisdomTap (they are still in beta, Website under construction).

The promise on WisdomTap’s Website is – well – promising:

“WisdomTap is building an advertising platform to help you reach the right customer at the right time.”

AdWords for Twitter

Basically, WisdomTap is creating a self-serve ad tool much like Google AdWords, but for Twitter.  Here’s how it works. Just like on AdWords, the advertiser bids on specific key words.  WisdomTap’s engine will then determine the campaign goal of the advertiser by evaluating his/her Website. Based on the knowledge about the advertiser, WisdomTap will then search Twitter for tweets (most often in the form of questions) relevant to the advertiser’s key words. When matches are found, a reply is sent to the Twitter user.

Case study

In this case, the advertiser ResourceNation, a lead generation company, targeted Twitter users looking for Web designers. WisdomTap’s engine scoured Twitter looking for relevant tweets. It then generated a list of tweets to be replied to.  Here’s one of them:

Replies are sent out under the Twitter handle @wiseSherpa. They look something like this:

For now, the replies are sent out manually, but when WisdomTap leaves beta end of July, they will be handled automatically. The goal is to hit at least 90% accuracy with regards to replying to relevant tweets. This is important for several reasons. First of all, WisdomTap wants to avoid spamming Twitter users. Secondly, in the case of ResourceNation, WisdomTap only gets paid if a user fills out a form on their Website.

Early results: 30% CTR

Rohit and his company have been in beta for the last month, and so far he is happy with the results. It is still a small audience (about 10% of Twitter users generally ask questions), but that is ok because they have intent far greater than what you get from users searching on Google. I’m sure the CTR will go down, but for the beta clients, Rohit has seen a 30% click-through rate.  That’s at least 10X of Google Adwords. Rohit also claims that most Twitter users are in fact appreciative of the service. They have received many “thank you’s” from users and only a few complaints (in which case they respond with an apology).

Targeting local and medium sized advertisers

Similarly to Adwords, the target market for the self serve model is small to medium sized advertisers looking to get in the game of social advertising. WisdomTap can sort by geography making the service relevant at the local level. WisdomTap is also looking to partner with intermediaries like ad agencies and other media companies.

I like the concept. I think it will be a while before small, local advertisers can participate, there is simply not enough volume (how many Twitter users in one town asks for a plumber?). But there is a play for regional advertisers, web-based companies and of course larger advertisers with a national presence.

It will certainly be interesting to see how this plays out. What do you think? Will Rohit succeed?

If you are interested in learning more, feel free to reach out to Rohit on LinkedIn.

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