The development of digital marketing is inseparable from technology development. One of the first key events happened in 1971, when Ray Tomlinson sent the first email, and his technology set the platform to allow people to send and receive files through different machines ( Nielsen 2016). However, the more recognizable period as being the start of Digital Marketing is 1990 as this was where the Archie search engine was created as an index for FTP sites. In the 1980s, the storage capacity of computers was already big enough to store huge volumes of customer information. Companies started choosing online techniques, such as database marketing, rather than limited list broker.These kinds of databases allowed companies to track customers' information more effectively, thus transforming the relationship between buyer and seller. Digital marketing is the component of marketing that utilizes internet and online based digital technologies such as desktop computers, mobile phones and other digital media and platforms to promote products and services (Techopedia 2018). Its development during the 1990s and 2000s, changed the way brands and businesses use technology for marketing. As digital platforms became increasingly incorporated into marketing plans and everyday life,and as people increasingly use digital devices instead of visiting physical shops,digital marketing campaigns have become prevalent, employing combinations of search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), content marketing, influencer marketing, content automation, campaign marketing, data-driven marketing, e-commerce marketing, social media marketing, social media optimization, e-mail direct marketing, display advertising, e–books, and optical disks and games have become commonplace (AMA, 2019).
Most businesses who through digital marketing operates on social network was faced with uncertainty when the Federal Government of Nigeria on June 5th announced it official ban of twitter operation in Nigeria. Twitter is an American microblogging and social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as "tweets". Registered users can post, like, and re-tweet tweets, but unregistered users can only read them. Users access Twitter through its website interface or its mobile-device application software . Suffice to say that Digital Marketing is enhanced through social network hence it is no doubt that such ban will have an effect on the profitability of brands and businesses who twitter handles and whose company run digital marketing. Thus it is upon this premise that this study is set to examine the implication of twitter ban on digital marketing.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
One of the key objectives of modern digital marketing is to raise brand awareness, the extent to which customers and the general public are familiar with and recognize a particular brand. Enhancing brand awareness is important in digital marketing, and marketing in general, because of its impact on brand perception and consumer decision-making. However, it is important to note that many businesses and brands depend on digital marketing for advertising their product on social media handle such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp and more. Thus for a company that has built an online presence and reputation if they are no longer able to access any of their media account it invariably connotes that they are on the verge of loosing the niche they have spent years to build.Wherefore this was the uncertainty that strucked most businesses and owing to the decision of the federal government on one of the sociabrands l networking site as twitter.
On 4th June 2021, the Nigerian government officially put an indefinite ban on Twitter restricting it from operating in Nigeria after the social media platform deleted tweets made by the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari warning the south eastern people of Nigeria predominantly occupied by the Igbo people of a potential repeat of the 1967 Biafran Civil War (CNN 2021).The Nigerian government claimed that the deletion of the President's tweets factored into their decision but it was ultimately based on "a litany of problems with the social media platform in Nigeria, where misinformation and fake news spread through it have had real world violent consequences". Although the ban was condemned by Amnesty International, British and Canadian missions and the Swedish Embassy in Nigeria as well as domestic organizations like - the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), the implication of this ban is likely to effect brands and businesses operating via digital marketing and on the adverse this may affect their customer engagement, decline in brand awareness and the profitability of such brands, while the new startup brands might go into extinct on the long run if nothing is done. Therefore it against the backdrop that this study is set present a careful examination of the implication of Twitter ban on digital marketing.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to examine the implication of twitter ban on digital marketing. Specifically the study seeks to
1. Ascertain the nature of twitter ban effect on brands and businesses who operates via digital marketing in Nigeria.
2. Investigate the extent to which brand products were patronized through digital marketing on their twitter handle before the twitter ban in Nigeria.
3. Investigate the extent to which brand awareness were created and brand niche built through digital marketing on their twitter handle before the twitter ban in Nigeria.
4. Examine if the revenue and profitability of digital marketing in Nigeria will also affected by the recent twitter ban.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The research is guided by the following questions
1. What is the nature of twitter ban effect on brands and businesses who operates via digital marketing in Nigeria?
2. What is the extent to which brand products were patronized through digital marketing on their twitter handle before the twitter ban in Nigeria?
3. What is the extent to which brand awareness were created and brand niche built through digital marketing on their twitter handle before the twitter ban in Nigeria?
4. Will the revenue and profitability of digital marketing and brand awareness in Nigeria be affected by the recent twitter ban?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Since this study portrays the nature of twitter ban effect on digital marketing and also the significant roles played by this sector under study, it is therefore pivotal to note that the findings and theoretical aspect of this work will be relevant to the major business brands and businesses who operates online via digital marketing. More so study will also be significantly useful to students and researchers and other individuals who may have the interest to gather or carryout any study related to the topic under study.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of borders on the examination of twitter ban on digital marketing. The study is therefore limited to GoTV Lagos.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The limitations of this study includes:
Finance: Due to the economic difficulty that the researcher was experiencing, the prospect of a greater sample size, which would have enabled the study to reach a larger region, has become impossible; thus, this work is limited to only Lagos state based GoTV centres.
Time: It was not surprising that the researcher was limited by time frame as it posed a direct challenge to the effective coverage intended in the course of this report. It is the intention of the researcher to interview all the employees of the selected GoTV outlets but because of numerous activities of the researcher which borders on both academics, work schedules and other social activities it became relatively impossible to explain the intention hence only the digital marketing department was enrolled as participant of the study.
Attitude of respondents: The majority of workers fail to collect the questionnaires, and some who do collect pay urgent attention required in filling and returning it, and others did not return theirs at all. Others were less accommodating and may have provided untrustworthy information because they were afraid of being exposed, despite the researcher's promise that all information would be treated with the utmost secrecy and only for education purpose.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Twitter: Twitter is an American micro-blogging and social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as "tweets". Registered users can post, like, and retweet tweets, but unregistered users can only read them.
Twitter Ban: this is the authoritative pause in the operation of twitter as mandated by the Federal government of Nigeria on June 5th 2021 until the owners of the social network meet the newly established requirement given to them by the government of Nigeria.
Brand Awareness: Brand awareness is a marketing term that describes the degree of consumer recognition of a product by its name. Creating brand awareness is a key step in promoting a new product or reviving an older brand. Ideally, awareness of the brand may include the qualities that distinguish the product from its competition.