Surprise and delight: Twitter's director of brand strategy shares advice on grabbing consumer attention

by Emily Kelleher

October 2, 2017

Stacy Minero spoke to Newhouse students as a guest of the Eric Mower Advertising forum

Photo of Stacy Minero
Stacy Minero, director of brand strategy for Twitter, speaking at Newhouse Sept. 27 Saniya More

Stacy Minero, director of brand strategy for Twitter, spoke at the Newhouse School Sept. 27 following the wave-making announcement that Twitter has expanded its 140 character limit to 280 characters. She insisted that the change was only a test.

“I always say brevity is beauty,” Minero said, adding that brands whose tweets are under 100 characters tend to fare better with consumers than those whose tweets top 100 characters.

Her talk focused on the art of grabbing people's attention in a time when consumers are inundated with messages and more people are using ad-blocking software than ever.

“Attention is the most valuable currency in advertising today,” Minero said.

Today’s consumers, despite spending a record five hours a day on mobile devices, only look at mobile ads for an average of 1.7 seconds. She showed a clip of a commercial that was cut off after 1.7 seconds, rendering it meaningless and the brand unrecognizable. While traditional TV ads may no longer be effective in swaying today’s consumers, Minero asserted that there is a way to get through to people.

“The silver lining is that people skip ads, but they don’t skip experiences,” Minero said.

Minero’s advice for getting audiences to pay attention focused on five strategies: start a movement, surprise and delight, create personalized content, provoke the audience and make the content the experience. She drew on examples of successful Twitter ad campaigns that lead to a high level of engagement with consumers. One such example, which fell under the “surprise and delight” category, was Taco Bell’s taco emoji engine, a campaign in which people could tweet the taco emoji and any other emoji at Taco Bell and get a customized graphic in response.

Asked how much of a role Twitter plays in campaigns that will ultimately be featured on multiple platforms, Minero responded, “An idea is stronger if it lives in many places and spaces.”

While Twitter is usually only one piece of a larger integrated campaign, the Twitter team encourages multi-platform campaigns because ultimately what they want is for the campaign to succeed.

When an audience member asked Minero how Twitter tries to balance grabbing people’s attention while combatting addiction and obsession, she said with a laugh, “Oh we like obsession. We need more obsession.”

Emily Kelleher is a sophomore magazine student at the Newhouse School.