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This is What Twitter’s Revenue Model Should Have Been

Twitter has just announced their revenue model (sort of) via ads which they are calling “Promoted Tweets“.

Basically it will allow advertisers to “promote” their regular tweets for more eyeballs and thus it will show up in the twitter search and also in user’s timeline based on the context. John Battelle has a great post up on his blog where he compares the program with Google Adwords. Like adwords, Promoted Tweets seems to have certain elements/checking that will ensure that only ‘well performed’ ad lives. (Just Like Quality Score of Google Adwords). John also believes that this will be welcomed by developers because they will finally find a way to monetize their efforts!

But What about the publishers?

Who made twitter, “Twitter”? Its Us! Our time, our efforts and our 140 characters of tweets has made twitter this big today. Twitter/Developers by right doesn’t own any of the content, we (publishers) own our tweets.

One of the main reason for which Google’s Advertising platform – Adwords is so successful today is because of its other side – Google Adsense. Thousands of publishers were pretty much promoting Google’s advertising platform for free to the whole world when they opted in to that service. And thats how all the online advertisers eventually got to know about adwords. Because of adsense, the advertisers also believed in the platform — Ad inventory is the key and google is by far the biggest due to adsense. Adsense did our web economy a lot of good too – It encouraged new publishers to come in and produce more content which now powers the whole web.

So when twitter says that they are going to put “promoted tweets” on my stream, it sounds insane. Twitter don’t own my tweets, how can they just insert a paid tweet inside? Imagine if Google didn’t had Adsense porgram today, They could have started framing every website that it sends traffic to from its search and on top of the site they could show contextual ads inside a frame. How irritating would that be?

I’m glad they didn’t do it! Because Google doesn’t own the content of the web. They are just a medium for users to find me. But what google did was smart, they made an option for me to OPT-IN to their program that allows me to show their ads and receive a ‘cut’ for it. That’s fair I’d say.

What Twitter Needs to do

If twitter’s revenue model is really “Ads” (I thought there were other cool ones) they really need to get us (publishers) involved in it. Our tweets combined actually make twitter. So twitter shouldn’t be making money on what we are creating. Well, they certainly can if they get us inside their advertising eco-system.

So will this work? Well I don’t have a full proof plan yet, but this is what I can think of right now. We (publishers) can opt-in to twitter’s advertising platform which will give access of our demographics/profile information to the advertisers. So an advertiser like DELL can choose to promote a tweet to all the tech enthusiasts in “USA & Canada” or the whole world. As a publisher, I’ll agree to auto “re-tweet” the advertisers message to my followers using the twitter’s official re-tweet function. This way my followers will see “Dell” on their tweet stream and not me, but they will know that they are seeing that on their stream because of me.

Since the ads will be engaging, my followers can interact directly with Dell. But twitter should be able to track that “my re-tweet” to my followers actually converted into a conversation between one of my follower & Dell. (a conversion for Dell on this case).

Based on my performance (no of conversions/actions taken), I can be given a small percentage of the advertiser’s ad spend. The percentage may vary depending on my account performance and this will encourage publishers to write ‘better tweets’. I’ll engage more with my audience (my followers), and eventually they will be more supportive of my stream. And its a win-win situation for everyone. If a particular user doesn’t want to see ads, he/she can simply choose to un-follow the publisher.

What do you think? Comment here or reply via twitter – @saadkamal

What others are saying:

The Twitter Ad Model Revealed (What Were You Expecting, a Pony?) – GigaOm

Full Details On Twitter’s Long-Awaited Ad Platform: Promote – Techcrunch

Twitter’s Advertising Scheme is Delightfully Boring – Just As It Should Be – Read Write Web

One Comment

  • Reply Geoff Jackson |

    Twitter potentially sit on a goldmine with this advertising model, with the user data available to them and the opportunity of launching geo-targeted ads this could prove a huge success.

    Geo-targeted advertising for local businesses displaying targeted ads to their followers in their local area whilst they are on the move. An ever expanding usage of Twitter users on mobile devices with apps such as Tweetie opens the doors to geo-targeting allowing a lot of businesses who didn’t otherwise “get Twitter”now… “Get it!”

    Is Resonance Score the new Quality Score? With the right approach and guys behind this business model, a whole ton of factors could be built into the scoring of ads and distribution/frequency of how they are shown…

    A load of these factors are discussed over at Clubnet Search Marketing in the comments.

    Read more at: Twitter’s Advertising Platform ‘Promoted Tweets’ (http://www.clubnetsearchmarketing.co.uk/twitter-deploy-advertising-service-bid-monetise-platform/506)

So, what do you think ?