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Posts Tagged ‘monetisation’

Promoted Tweets – Twitter’s sensible first step to monetisation

April 14th, 2010

So, it’s finally happened. Twitter has made its first foray into the world of advertising with ‘Promoted Tweets’. Now before you throw your toys out of the pram, this isn’t the end of Twitter as we know it…or the world, it’s Twitter’s first, and somewhat tentative, attempt to make some much needed cash, and so far, so good.

As Twitter’s Co-founder Biz Stone said: ‘They will not be traditional adverts‘ and they must ‘resonate with users‘ and be part of conversations.

The reality is, advertisers will be able to buy Promoted Tweets that will then appear on Twitter’s search results pages, as shown in the image above. Let me say that again ‘appear on Twitter’s search results pages‘ so all the fear surrounding our Twitter feeds being clogged up with irrelevant advertising have proved unfounded…for now at least.

For the official word, check out Biz Stones post from yesterday: Some of the most interesting points for me are the opening:
Over the years, we’ve resisted introducing a traditional Web advertising model because we wanted to optimize for value before profit. The open exchange of information creates opportunities for individuals, organizations, and businesses alike. We recognized value in this exchange and planned to amplify it in a meaningful and relevant manner.’

And part of the Q&A:

Q. What will users see?
You will start to see Tweets promoted by our partner advertisers called out at the top of some Twitter.com search results pages. We strongly believe that Promoted Tweets should be useful to you. We’ll attempt to measure whether the Tweets resonate with users and stop showing Promoted Tweets that don’t resonate.
‘Promoted Tweets will be clearly labelled as “promoted” when an advertiser is paying, but in every other respect they will first exist as regular Tweets and will be organically sent to the timelines of those who follow a brand. Promoted Tweets will also retain all the functionality of a regular Tweet including replying, Retweeting, and favouriting. Only one Promoted Tweet will be displayed on the search results page.’

Q. You said, “first phase”; what else do you have planned?

A. ‘Before we roll out more phases, we want to get a better understanding of the resonance of Promoted Tweets, user experience and advertiser value. Once this is done, we plan to allow Promoted Tweets to be shown by Twitter clients and other ecosystem partners and to expand beyond Twitter search, including displaying relevant Promoted Tweets in your timelines in a way that is useful to you.’

So, although this is a first phase, it seems a very sensible way to approach the monetisation issue. Twitter appreciates that history has shown advertising and social networks don’t mix well, and is taking a gentle approach to beginning this process.

Therefore, I was a little confused to read a Telegraph piece this afternoon, which detailed the reaction in a survey by Groupola, who polled 1,219 UK Twitter users and found that 68 per cent of those interviewed were upset about the idea of branded tweets entering their personal feeds.

I’m not questioning the sample or the survey, but I’m not sure what the 68% were so upset about? I mean as it stands this doesn’t seem to be too intrusive and has little or no affect on the service. Yes ads entering feeds would cause more of an issue, but is this a case of the hype over blowing the reality? Or as only eight per cent said that they would reserve judgement to see how the new service would play out over the coming weeks, I wonder if the others had seen promoted tweets before casting their vote?

As I see it Promoted Tweets will currently only appear at the top of some of the Twitter search results pages, which resonates with Google’s paid advertising model and is surely something we’re familiar with by now.
Yes, the second phase of advertising will surely see more direct advertising, but let’s keep some perspective;

Twitter can’t go on providing a free service without any sponsorship/advertising. The monetisation has to come. They’re certainly not rushing it (four years after launch) it’s not a bolt from the blue, and it isn’t a draconian measure that will make us all pack our bags and leave the platform.

I for one will be looking out eagerly for the next phase of advertising, and hope Twitter manages to continue this level of transparency around its plans.

BTW: The current advertising partners include Best Buy, Bravo, Red Bull, Sony Pictures, Starbucks, and Virgin America, and you can read more about Virgin America’s use of Promoted Tweets in this Mashable article.

Chris Norton has also done a great round up of opinions, and you can get more information on Promoted Tweets from this Ad Age article: Twitter Has a Business Model: ‘Promoted Tweets’.

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Twitter monitisation: testing the waters

October 8th, 2009

There has been plenty of discussion surrounding Biz Stone’s interview with the Tribune Newspapers in the U.S on Wednesday, as he offered an insight into the platform’s plans for future monetisation. Of course this isn’t the first time Stone has mentioned some sort of corporate premium feature, and he went onto state that new services would be introduced by the end of 2009, as mentioned earlier in the year.

The introduction of paid-for services is an inevitable element of Twitter’s continued development, and by focusing on charges for the corporate user Twitter is testing the water by focusing on the path of least resistance.

However, Stone also confirmed that Twitter would remain free for all users, including businesses, and that the new premium features would focus on additional services such as analytics, which I think many corporate users would happily pay for – depending on cost of course.

“We’re only just now entering a phase in Twitter’s lifetime where we’re able to develop new products,” Stone said to the LA Times.

I think keeping a free service is essential for Twitter, and approaching the monetisation question by introducing new services reduces any potential backlash from Twitter’s legion of advocates who would undoubtedly be less supportive if they were charged for a service they’ve enjoyed for free over the last few years.

The Tribune articles also went onto confirm that Twitter won’t introduce ads this year, and will retain its current model of a fully open platform, which allows third-party developers to continue developing new services to make Twitter a more useful platform: Stone said: “The idea that an economy is being built on the Twitter platform is encouraging to us. It depends on how you look at it. But we look at it as a super-healthy ecosystem. It signals that we’re here to stay.”

The question of Twitter ads is perhaps more of a difficult one to deal with. Changing the way we view Twitter with potentially intrusive advertising will evoke much more of a response than the question of corporate services, and that’s going to be the first real test for Twitter’s quest to build revenue.

Back in September Twitter laid the groundwork for an advertising offering by amending its terms of use to allow advertisers to reach its visitors.

The terms confirmed:

The services may include advertisements, which may be targeted to the content or information on the services, queries made through the services, or other information. The types and extent of advertising by Twitter on the services are subject to change.

In consideration for Twitter granting you access to and use of the services, you agree that Twitter and its third-party providers and partners may place such advertising on the services….

On Twitter’s blog Biz Stone said: “We leave the door open for advertising. We’d like to keep our options open, as we’ve said before,”

There is much speculation surrounding how Twitter ads could be delivered, including on users’ home pages on the website, or alongside search terms, or even by allowing advertisers to place ads in the streams of tweets, but this would seem very unlikely considering Twitter’s careful approach to keeping users on side to date.

I expect Twitter to remain cautious and avoid upsetting its biggest asset, its loyal followers, at all costs. There will undoubtedly be more changes to Twitter over the next six months, but if done correctly by offering additional services that add value these may in fact open up the platform to more usage, as we’re a very long way from its potential in my opinion.< >< ><–>

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