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Samsung Looks to Steal iPhone Thunder on Twitter

Brands use Promoted Tweets to hijack buzz
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For users, Twitter’s all about the moment. For marketers, Twitter’s increasingly about hijacking the moment from competitors through the social site’s Promoted Tweet ads. That’s why it will be worth a peek here and there today (Sept. 12) to see what Twitter search marketers are trying to capitalize on the iPhone 5 leading into the product’s much-anticipated announcement at 1 p.m. ET.

At press time, it’s clearly Samsung seizing the game. The cellphone brand is the top bidder for the following Twitter search terms: “iPhone”; “iPhone 5”; “new iPhone”; “Apple iPhone”; etc.

And Samsung’s copy is pretty cheeky (see below), repeatedly suggesting that consumers have been waiting for the iPhone 5 for quite some time and may have to wait even longer before they can get their hands on one.

Promoted Tweets for American Express’ card-syncing rewards program are also appearing today, as they have since the work week began—although the financial brand today evidently isn’t bidding as high as Samsung, which appears first for the search term and more often. Twitter users who click on organically trending terms—appearing on the left-hand side of the social site's page—such as "iPhone" will also see ads for Samsung, AmEx and possibly others.

Indeed, the bidding wars can tilt in new directions at any time if, say, Nokia and Motorola marketers decide to purchase part of the tweet buzz that will certainly flood newsfeeds for a few hours on Wednesday (which might as well be National iPhone Day). In nearly identical fashion to how brands buy Google AdWords, all they have to do is outbid Samsung for the eyeballs.

Twitter's real-time marketing battles were perhaps best exemplified by incidents last week on the political front. President Barack Obama's re-election team on Sept. 5 bought the promoted tweet for the search term for "literally" minutes after veep Joe Biden flubbed the word during his Democratic Convention speech. The Democrats aimed to turn a negative moment into a positive one. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney also showed Twitter savviness, buying the Promoted Trend ad during the first two days of the Democrat's convention.

Meanwhile, below are examples from the current efforts by Samsung and AmEx to steal Apple's thunder: