I recently wrote an article for AdNews regarding Twitter and monetization and thought I would post it up here now also.
Recently in an interview with the UK’s Marketing Magazine Twitter cofounder Biz Stone announced that Twitter was on track to finally answer the question that has continuously plagued them over the past few years, ‘What is the business-model?’
‘We are noticing more companies using Twitter and individuals following them. We can identify ways to make this experience even more valuable and charge for
On the release of this article there was a tidal wave of immediate backlash throughout the twitter community. There were hundreds of blog posts released on the reasons that charging businesses for access to Twitter was a dead end and would only end up harming its growth. In response to this Stone wrote a post on the Twitter blog assuring consumers that nobody would be getting charged for access to Twitter.
‘However, it’s important to note that whatever we come up with, Twitter will remain free to use by everyone—individuals, companies, celebrities, etc. What we’re thinking about is adding value in places where we are already seeing traction, not imposing fees on existing services.’
The idea of having an added value section comprising of analytics tools is one of the better ideas floating around. There is potential for tools that tag users who use certain keywords and gather market research based off their activity. Collecting this data and creating a database based on user behaviours would certainly be of more value to a company than any kind of trend/activity tracking tool would be (especially given the plentiful supply of third party tools to do this). The real trick would be taking this one step further.
Several articles have been written stating that Google should buy Twitter in the interest of protecting its search product, and this is true. Many people looking for up to the minute news are searching Twitter because it is updated in real time, something Google’s spider is not capable of maintaining. However, I believe the true value to a company like Google would be the ability to integrate real conversations into the behavioural model.
Google’s release of a behavioural based product has been long awaited and, given the sheer amount of data Google have, I am surprised it has taken so long for one to come to fruition. Their product takes data based on visits to sites that contain Google Ads, which would be most sites, including those across major publishers. This data is then arranged into pre-defined categories (travel, business, automotive, etc.) and can be used to find users within the category shopping cycle. If we add to this the conversational data from Twitter, the tool would be able to further narrow this and target people who have actively conversed about their shopping interest.
In the current climate, with marketers pinching every dollar, targeting is of the utmost importance. Google are now in market with a product that has great potential and Twitter could be the key to taking it all the way there. I am a huge fan of Twitter, I am on it religiously and have managed to convert several people who once believed it to be a waste of space into equally devout addicts. Due to this I really want Twitter to work, I want it to make money and I want it to survive. Feel free to connect with us: www.twitter.com/phdaustralia