Bad Idea: Google AdSense Twitter Units: Twitter Streams in AdSense

Apr 6, 2009 - 8:29 am 2 by
Filed Under Google AdSense

On Friday, I reported on an AdAge article that showed Google was testing incorporating Twitter streams in AdSense units. The first test, which was confirmed by Google as a limited beta, would show TurboTax's Twitter stream in AdSense units, likely on pages about taxes.

If you scan the recent @turbotax communication via Twitter, you can see why I am nervous about this implementation. If it was purely marketing speak, showing promotions or helpful tax tips, then I would understand it. But as you can see from the stream, TurboTax is having disconnected conversations with other Twitter users. If you see the latest five Tweets from TurboTax in an AdSense unit on a page on taxes, you would have no clue what the ad meant - in this case.

I have asked Google to provide a sample of what this ad unit looks like, but they did not comply. They did give me this statement:

To provide more marketing opportunities for our advertisers to reach users in moments that are relevant and useful to them, we are currently testing different ways that allow advertisers to better update their ads in real time. We are currently in a limited test with a small number of advertisers and publishers.

I understand that Intuit wants to grow a following for @TurboTax on Twitter, but is this the best way to do it? A WebmasterWorld thread has discussion around this news. Many are skeptical, but skeptical for the wrong reasons. I am fairly confident I understand Twitter well, I have been on it very early, before most people and I am fairly active on it, under @rustybrick, but using it in this manner, at least the way I understand how it is being used, seems off.

Problems with showing your last five or so Tweets in an AdSense unit?

  1. The Tweets may not be relevant to the content of the page
  2. You may display disconnected conversations that the public won't be able to understand
  3. Many people still are clueless as to what Twitter is
  4. Followers are great, but will it lead to sales (many cases, yes, it will)

In this case, I am very skeptical that this type of ad unit will work for Google and advertisers. I am sure publishers won't like to see someone else's Twitter stream on their pages.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.


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