What Can Twitter Teach Us About Advertising?

, Posted on Nov 18

The 140-character world. That’s where we live nowadays, thanks to Twitter and other social media sites where “status updates” proliferate. Thanks to a bombardment of byte-sized packets of information and headlines, we have been conditioned to have the attention span of an infant newt.

As a result, marketers must play to our ADD-influenced personae. At Identity, we have long believed that good copy is brief copy, but never has that been more true than now.

What has Twitter taught us about effective advertising copy, for example?

1.) Be brief. Any more than a sentence or two, and you’ve lost them.

2.) Be impactful. You’ve learned from using Twitter that you can pack quite the punch in 140 characters or less. Take from the lessons you’ve learned there and apply that to your marketing copy.

3.) Less is more. We operate in a reality in which even a long tweet can cause the eyes to glass over. If you can say it in fewer words, do it.

4.) No one likes to read. The brain is captivated by images. Retention of images is far greater than that of the written word. (For the record, I do like to read, and I know it’s not true that no one likes to read.)

5.) Just give us the headlines. If we want to know more, we will ask. For now, just wow us with the general gist.

For example, would you rather look at this ad:

Apple 2


…or this ad:



Which ad do you think leaves a lasting impression with the viewer? If I’m flipping through a magazine, which ad will deliver impact in the three seconds or less I spend on the page?

Think like a tweeter. We’re all busy, and we don’t spend our days seeking out informative ads to read and memorize. This applies to print ads, POP ads, billboards, and all sorts of other marketing copy, such as direct mail and sales flyers.

Some more examples of ads that I think do less with more, short and tweet-like: