How Twitter’s Thirst For Ad Revenue Needs To Be Quenched: Small Businesses

Is there a guerillero(a) that DOESNT love #Twitter?

There isnt much of a social media guerilla without Twitter and its 200 million users. But even the most beloved (or former most beloved tool, I should say) has its issues, mainly, profitability. Quite the issue that is, being it so that Twitter just received $800 million during its latest round of funding – those investors want their money back.

Twitter Ads Are Coming

Not quite so obviously, Twitter took well over 2 years to finally announce their new Promoted Tweets platform, which will place ads from a few select companies and non-profits at the top of your stream. These promoted tweets will only appear if you follow one of those entities, and can be easily dismissed with a click. Very similar to the small adwords placements on Youtube.

Several publications rushed to proclaim the apocalypse – Can Ad-Littered Twitter Keep Its Cool? best sums what everybody is thinking: Will we, Twitter users, stick around as Promoted Tweets go mainstream? Their main point is the now-famous line from The Social Network:

“You don’t want to ruin [Facebook] with ads, because ads aren’t cool” –Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) to a young Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) in The Social Network.

More realistically, Forrester Research marketing analyst Sean Corcoran reminded us that Promoted Tweets have been around for a while, but limited to and search results within a few 3rd party twitter apps. Corcoran spoke with Adam Bain, president of Global Revenue at Twitter, and Bain guaranteed that “user experience is the No. 1 priority” … BLAH BLAH BLAH…


So How Can Twitter Generate Revenue (for Itself and for Your Business)?

Fellow Guerillero Mitch Joel was quick to raise the point that Biz Stone and Jack Dorsey have been debating all this time: Is Advertising The Future Of Twitter? Mitch raises a really good question – are we limited to advertisement to create revenue? Does Twitter really have only this most-obvious path to create revenue or is there some more creative, less intrusive method of making money?

One of the coolest ideas – at least the one with the coolest name – revolves around Deep Data Mining – accessing (or granting access to) endless amounts of user data to … target better ads? Anyway, the name of the idea sounds cool.

But quite honestly, ADS ARE A NECESSARY EVIL. Okay, as a marketer, I’m clearly biased, but the truth is users are very much aware that Twitter (or any service) cant be awesome AND free at the same time. See Pandora, Spotify, or any other “FREEMIUM” service out there. Did you ever hear anybody say “I’m quitting Facebook because it has ads” ?

Give Small Business a Tweet AdWords

Imagine you run a cupcake shop and you’re able to show an ad to users 20 miles around your store that used the keywords “birthday” or “party” or even “cupcake” within their tweets? Your ad is shown in that user’s stream moments after they tweet, from your own twitter account, and it’d look exactly like one of your regular tweets. Both highly targeted and extremely timely.

No “Stickyness” – no need to keep the ad floating on their timeline permanently. No annoyance, just a very well-timed display placement. Having an option to repeat such tweet every hour or so (as long as not more frequent than hourly) would guarantee a real impression.

If Facebook did make $1.86 Billion, as mentioned in Fast Company’s article, I bet at least 50% came from small businesses spending a few $1000s within their Facebook Ads. Small businesses are the driving force within Adwords, and it made Groupon a multi-billion dollar company. I love using Twitter for local Social Media campaigns, and having a tool like that would benefit a huge amount of businesses.

Am I totally wrong? How bad would Twitter (or any other social network) have to fill its stream with ads for you to stop using it? If that happens, do you plan on switching to Google+? Let us know in the comments.

One Response to How Twitter’s Thirst For Ad Revenue Needs To Be Quenched: Small Businesses
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