Brands Join Virtual Gift Giving on Twitter

LOS ANGELES Twitter’s 24 million monthly users now have a way to send branded virtual goods to one another courtesy of AdNectar, which has launched a marketing platform for the social media site, as well as one for blogging portal LiveJournal. Malibu Rum, Nestle’s Toll House, Fisher-Price, Trident Gum and Overture Films (Capitalism: A Love Story) are aboard so far and more brands are in the process of signing on.

The gift of gifting will spread virally, and that’s how the service is initially being seeded by AdNectar: one tweet at a time. When a member gifts a friend an Elmo Tickle Hands “Ticklegram” or Capitalism director Michael Moore’s baseball cap, all of the sender’s and the recipient’s followers will see the branded item and can click it to send one, too. The company is hoping brand marketers will see opportunities to build buzz among their most influential consumers — such as mom bloggers — to amplify the viral effect.

To bring the icons to the platform, AdNectar partnered with Fun140, a casual gaming site designed for Twitter-style 140-character messages. Those branded items are on the site’s “gifts” section. Meanwhile, LiveJournal will promote its branded gift catalog on the Fun140 home page.

While branded gifts have flourished on Facebook and other social networks, AdNectar is the first to develop these gadgets for Twitter and LiveJournal, which has 700,000 communities.

The cost of these virtual gift campaigns typically ranges between $50,000 and $150,000, depending on the number of social media sites involved, the level of exposure, the duration of the campaign, and the number of branded goods. The Twitter and LiveJournal deals don’t have an end date and the publishers earn a revenue share off the campaigns on their sites.

Nielsen Business Media