Twitter’s Biggest Value: The Big Now

Though it hasn’t been officially announced, the Web is buzzing this morning with word that Twitter has made its largest acquisition ever: the social TV analytics company Bluefin Labs. Time will prove the merits of this investment, but Twitter obviously realizes its largest value to marketers: the ability to instantly capitalize on moments in real time. The impending acquisition shows that Twitter is very much aware of its relation to TV viewership and plans to deepen it.

The “Big Now” vs. the “Long Here”
Much like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, Twitter and Facebook are often compared to one another for almost no reason at all — as if someone is either a Twitter/Stones person or a Facebook/Beatles person. The fact of the matter is, there are a great deal of people who enjoy both based on the fact that they are inherently different from one another.

Just looking at the most recent data on mentions of Twitter in Super Bowl commercials shows that advertisers understand that conversations on Twitter take place in what Adam Greenfield calls the “Big Now,” or the heightened sense of any given moment by seeing it through the lens of others’ experiences. During the blackout last Sunday, Twitter quoted that they were receiving over 231,500 tweets per minute. Another great example of the real time type of engagements happening on Twitter is Oreo’s show-stealing advertisement, which was retweeted over 14,500 times and should be inducted into the Real-Time Marketing Hall of Fame. (If there were such a thing.)

Facebook’s usage is much different and focuses more on the opposite of the Big Now, which Greenfield calls the “Long Here,” or the ability to aggregate experiences, thoughts and memories in one place over time. Facebook’s roll out of check-in capabilities, update of Timeline formats, the acquisition of Instagram and addition of Photo Maps show that it is putting its focus on the Long Here. Even its most recent platform update, Graph Search, focuses on Facebook’s capability to gather a lot of data about people, places and things over time.

Which Is More Important?
In short, brands should focus on both the Big Now and the Long Here when approaching their social strategy. Just in the same way we listen to the Beatles and Rolling Stones for completely different reasons, consumers treasure the Big Now and Long Here equally and for different reasons. With that said, Twitter has the advantage over Facebook in allowing brands to connect with their content across multiple screens in real time and in huge volumes, which is likely why Twitter and hashtags were mentioned in half of all Super Bowl ads.

Facebook, on the other hand, only really gives brands and publishers two outlets to grow their audience and spread their content. Brands can either pump more content into the Facebook ecosystem more often in the hopes of engaging more people or pay Facebook for unattractive advertising solutions that often have very low engagement.

David Germano

David is the VP of Content Marketing for Empower Media Marketing, and runs Empower's Content Marketing division, Magnetic Content Studios. For more than 14 years, David has been helping brands develop sustained content marketing strategies and operate like media to build their own audiences. David is often speaking on the topic, and is a guest contributor to Content Marketing Institute.

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