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Intuit Uses Real-Time Twitter Feed in Banner Ad on VentureBeat Blog

By Jim Bruene on April 9, 2009 10:15 AM | Comments (2)

image Intuit's TurboTax unit has long pushed the envelope in promoting its brand through social networks. Its Vanilla Ice YouTube promotion two years ago (previous post) is still one of my favorite financial user-generated-content (UGC) promotions.

But UGC promotions take a lot of planning and support, and unless they go viral, they may generate just a few thousand views and little new business (see note 1).

Intuit's use of a real-time (note 2) Twitter feed in a banner ad (see at VentureBeat, screenshot below) is so much better than a YouTube promo in a number of ways:

  • Much more cost effective: It costs Intuit virtually nothing to post its Twitter stream to VentureBeat (other than the advertising expense). Intuit is already broadcasting on its Twitter channel for other reasons. This is just a repositioning of that content.
  • When Intuit answers a question within its stream (@ replies), it creates moderated "user-generated micro-content." The newness of the content creates more interest and attention than a static banner ad.
  • The company jumps on the Twitter-bandwagon, a good way to generate press mentions.

Bottom line: This approach works only if you are creating an interesting stream of Tweets. TurboTax, during the early-April tax return mania, is a great example. Other financial companies can mimic the approach, and you'll probably want to run a contest or do something innovative to keep your Tweets lively. 

VentureBeat home page (9 April 2009)

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Landing page at Intuit's TurboTax Twitter page @turbotax
(link, 9 April 2009)

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Notes:
1. But if you have a huge budget, the payoff can be great. According to Jeffry Pilcher's Financial Brand post today, Barclaycard's Waterslide promo, referenced on the UK homepage, generated more than a million views on YouTube. Barclay's TV ad is here, the YouTube page is here and the Web-based game, here.

2. It's a "speeded-up" real-time feed. The banner ad cycles through the five most-recent Tweets (all of which were posted yesterday). Each one is on-screen for several seconds, making it look like there is much activity. 

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Very interesting use of twitter! Did you say it was coming from the live tweet stream, or their favorites? I know CNN uses the favorites steam to help moderate comments. One of the issues with twitter is Tweet Stream Blindness, caused by over-posters and spammers. This is a great way to bring exposure to conversations.

@Ryan...Intuit is streaming the last 5 Tweets that **they** made, including @replies.

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