Disclaimer: The following opinion article represents the personal opinions of the author.
The founder of Telegram, Pavel Durov, officially announced on your channel last Friday what the company has already mentioned in recent weeks: Sponsored Posts, which will allow everyone to pay for ads on the independent social network.
But before you express your disappointment because another app gets annoying interruptions from people you don’t know or don’t like, you might want to keep reading and see if, for the first time, they can be of any use to you.
“Win-win” vs. “lose-lose” advertising.
Telegram, like any other company, is not a charity. You have to make money somehow and advertising is usually one of the ways to achieve this, especially with millions of users.
After his attempt to issue the “Gram” cryptocurrency was thwarted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, there was almost no alternative.
But it’s also important to keep in mind that advertising isn’t always bad – it’s a way to get your message across to new people, which would otherwise be difficult or impossible to reach. If companies didn’t advertise, they couldn’t sell much, so they couldn’t offer many jobs to the people who work for them either.
So, as a tool, ads are neither good nor bad. What matters is what we do with them.
The most extreme example in the social media space is, of course, Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg will not only allow others to post content to your personal timeline, but will also interrupt you while you watch videos and have your “pixels” track your behavior to millions of websites outside of Facebook itself.
The company collects a lot of data about what you do, what you like, read, write, who you interact with, what you browse online stores, what you read to get news, and even where you physically go with your device. Phone.
It will then cut, analyze, and post this data to a growing group of thirsty advertisers, who can use Facebook’s global knowledge about you, to run ads that try to take you away from what you’ve been busy doing. – usually to get your money to sell you something at the end of the process (often in very misleading ways).
Google, based on advertising, isn’t much better though, at least it still offers an advertising solution that simply shows sponsored results for topics you’re already looking for. That way, it really helps both you and the advertisers.
This is the kind of service I would describe as “win-win”: providing advertising to volunteers, at the right time, without disrupting their other activities.
Most advertising, however, is very disruptive and therefore very annoying. TV commercials, radio commercials, brochures, unsolicited spam, and, on the Internet, flashing banners, fake buttons, and, lastly, clips that appear right in the middle of an interesting video or between songs, ruining the mood of the moment.
This, in turn, is a way to run “losing-losing” ads: hoping for accidental clicks or, very often, tricking people into clicking on something that never really interested them.
Some advertisers (especially dishonest ones) may find luck in the short term with these types of promotions, but in the long run, they are really self-destructive.
Not only can annoying people at an inappropriate time likely not make them buy anything, but it can actually generate negative associations with your brand as intrusive or desperate.
That said, aside from search advertising, which simply expands the options available to you, in response to anything you’re already looking for anyway, there’s really no other channel that works so usefully for both publishers and for users.
Telegram might be about to change that.
When it comes to advertising, less is more
With the release of Sponsored Messages, the company has openly emphasized things that some may consider a handicap.
It does not collect any personal data, nor does it track your behavior outside of the app. Publishers can only link to their Telegram channels or bots, not to external websites, so any interaction must occur within the app.
In addition, promoted messages will only appear on channels with more than 1,000 subscribers and ONLY after the user has read all unread messages recently.
But what looks like a rotten deal for advertisers is actually a disguised blessing.
Because you can target users by topics or channels, it’s much easier to make a decision on where to spend your money.
Facebook, for example, with its abundance of options, makes it difficult for even advertisers to know what’s going on. Campaign success is largely due to algorithms that find out who your potential customer might be, but this may require relatively high spending over extended periods of time, so that enough data can be collected to achieve this. (and there is no guarantee that it will). will never do so).
Google’s solutions, on the other hand, are not suitable for all advertising (especially content), Twitter is limited and restrictive, as are native advertising networks like Outbrain (they will gladly serve people some junk at the level tabloid, but many products and themes are a no-no).
Telegram, by comparison, is more open and simple. Even if you fail, you fail quickly and you can try faster.
And because you can target specific channels, it means you can also do your own research, instead of relying on an opaque code snippet, while being charged for days, hoping to get gold at some point. .
Second, the requirement to direct people to your own channels creates the need to create a presence in Telegram. It’s harder to fool users if you can’t take them offline to your own fishing website or otherwise misleading.
It’s a win for those with genuine audiences and interesting content and a win for users, if fewer spammers seek to abuse Telegram for nefarious purposes. It’s also easier for Telegram to moderate ads and quickly get rid of offensives and their perpetrators.
Finally, because sponsored messages will only appear when users have read all of their pending messages on the channel, they will not be interrupted in the middle of reading or discussing anything with other people.
Ads become an add-on, an extension of the experience, probably relevant to their interests and the topic of a particular channel, which is offered to them when there is nothing else to consume, which makes them more prone to participate with the message that if they were not interrupted.
It’s a win-win for advertisers, which increases the effectiveness of advertising, and a win-win for app users, who may receive helpful suggestions for following channels that may also be of interest to them.
In addition, it’s hard to overstate the importance of another independent, non-American advertising channel opening up in the same way that Big Tech in the Bay Area is tightening the screw on what it accepts on its networks.
Telegram is certainly more committed to free speech and should be considerably easier for legitimate advertisers to promote their content, services or products on the platform than on Facebook, Google or others.
With the Silicon Valley Giants, your success depends on the vagaries of ever-changing guidelines and even your personal activity, as writing unpopular stuff can block your personal Facebook advertising account, even if your business is not related to your personal life.
That’s why I appreciate Telegram’s new features as both an advertiser and a regular user. It can transform a messenger app into a real social network.
Featured Image Credit: Gulte