SYDNEY: Australian brands need to develop strategies to exploit new consumer behaviour patterns, including the integration of marketing functions and utilisation of all channels, according to a top Twitter executive.

Melissa Barnes, Twitter's head of agency and brand advocacy, told The Australian that local brands had a prime opportunity thanks to widespread mobile usage and a fully engaged Twitter community.

"The opportunity for brands is that there are all these different moments that you can take advantage of and you have to be smart," she said.

Display advertising on Twitter, however, was not a route she recommended. "You actually have to think about it like a cocktail party," she suggested, "where you provide content that is relevant to that conversation."

Twitter's strength for marketers was in "playing together" with other media, and she pointed to the example of Mercedes-Benz's use of the social media site in a UK campaign.

An interactive commercial during the final of The X-Factor featured a car chase with viewers able to tweet at different hashtags during subsequent ad breaks to determine how it would end.

"It created an almost gaming experience and they promoted that they were going to be doing this for the finale and they ran ads in the newspapers and bus stops so people knew this was happening," said Barnes.

The success of the campaign was evident in the findings that one in four who participated in this virtual car chase expressed a desire to go to a dealership and learn about the car.

This was just one example, she said, of how brands were "using Twitter to amplify events, they're using Twitter to amplify sponsorships, they're using Twitter to connect print ads to TV to YouTube - just many, many different channels".

Another challenge brands faced was in the provision of real-time content. In her experience, "the brands that are activating best in real time are planning far ahead for it".

She noted that executives were "rethinking how they work with different agencies and they're really trying to figure out how you plan for real time".

Data sourced from The Australian; additional content by Warc staff