Amex Turning Twitter Content into (Transpromo) Commerce

Amex Twitter screen captureEarlier this week, American Express and Twitter announced a partnership (similar to Amex’ existing deal with FourSquare) that will allow the company to leverage social media mining to push relevent offers to customers through Twitter. Amex is taking an opt-in approach through which cardmembers are rewarded for synching their Amex card account with their Twitter account. The sychronization allows Amex to read the cardmembers tweets and access the related Followed/Followers lists. Amex can then grow a Twitter army of accounts retweeting special offer hashtags who will be rewarded for their efforts through targeted special offers.

Amex already has a huge base of information on active cardmembers from tracking what they buy with their card – but most people have more than one card and card activity is, naturally, gathered after the purchase decision has already been made. By tapping the social media stream, Amex can gather additional insight on preferences as well as information on the cardmembers social media influencers and those they influence.

Most of the buzz around this announcement has centered on concerns about how Amex will leverage analytics and whether the advertising and offers on Twitter will pollute the “TwitterSphere.” In counterpoint, I’m quite interested to see how adding social media analytics to Amex’ already impressive data arsenal will add to their marketing capabilities in existing channels such as email, direct mail and (dare I say it) Transpromo.

American Express was a pioneer in the practice of using their necessary customer communications such as invoices and statements, to cross-sell, up-sell and promote third-party offers at a profit. With the added data from their forays into social media analytics, Amex will have opportunities to provide shareable offers in statement form via printed coupons, or printed offers that link back to other social media – for example a statement message that says “share this offer with your friends on FaceBook.” Since cardmembers may have multiple card accounts and multiple Twitter accounts – not to mention Google+, FaceBook, LinkedIn, Printerest and others the next challenge will be tracking cardmembers across the total Amex relationship and their complete social media persona – (which if other card members are like me probably looks a bit like a frame out of the movie Sybil – so many personalities so little time!) Getting card members to voluntarily link their card activity with their social media activity for even one account it a great start and more than other industry players have achieved.

I’m wondering if this is the beginning of the end for Transpromo or the fuel it needs to really get going. What do you think?

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