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With Twitter's New Mute Feature, Brand Reach Isn't Always Guaranteed

Ugh. Brands.

Abel Tunik/Shutterstock

Twitter’s big pitch to marketers: Let your brand’s message reach people at the exact moment it needs to.

But what if your audience is no longer paying attention?

That has always been a possibility in all advertising, period. But even more so on Twitter now, since the company rolled out its new mute feature earlier this week.

It’s straightforward. If anyone you’re following gets unusually chatty and tweets more often than you want to see, you can put them on mute without having to unfollow or block them. It’s a simple way to filter noise without offending a friend or someone you normally want to follow.

That’s convenient for people like you and me (especially when the deluge of Oscar night tweets start flooding in). But it’s a potential pain for brands like, say, Virgin America or Twizzlers, which count on their tweets to reach every person following the accounts. That becomes even more problematic if those companies are buying advertising on Twitter: if you follow Twizzlers’ tweets, then mute them, the company will have a record of your follow, yet you won’t see their promoted tweets.

Granted, you can only mute accounts that you already follow, so this won’t stop you from seeing Red Vines ads (or ones from other brands). And if you are really tired of a brand’s antics, you can just unfollow them, which will give the company a better idea of their true reach.

Still, if enough people begin to mute an account — and, since there’s no reminder you’ve muted someone, forget to eventually turn it back on — it could give a slightly skewed idea of what a brand’s reach actually is.

All that said, if you’re just tired of brands and real-time ads altogether, you could just hop on over to Vine.

This article originally appeared on