LastÂ week,Â TwitterÂ finally announced the news the world had been waiting for:Â a revenue stream model. People were speculating for months how the social networking phenomenon would monetize itself, with hopes that there would be a profitable plan other than online advertising. Well, fanboys, you can put that dream to rest.
As an advertising professional, I’m not adverse to online ad monetization. TheÂ funds keep our favorite websites aliveÂ and it gives advertisers the opportunity to promote whatever it is that brings them their return on investment. But as a social media critic and junkie, I had high hopes that Twitter would think out of the box. Maybe they would go theÂ WikipediaÂ route (relying on donations), or employees would do something mind-blowing like donating their organs for money.
Twitter did think out of the box by avoiding straight-up advertising, but, to my regret, they didnâ€™t invent something that had never been done before.
Twitterâ€™s â€śsponsored tweetsâ€ť will be similar to the advertising model ofÂ Yelp, where restaurants and businesses pay a premium to show up as sponsored results (and the placement is quite seamless, in my opinion). Twitter will provide account holders the opportunity to do just the same, with sponsored tweets prominently featured at the top of your Twitter feed.
Are sponsored tweets a positive or detrimental move? I’m still scratching my head and forming an opinion. My initial thoughts are that â€śyou gotta start somewhere,â€ť and, perhaps this will plant the seed for future success. I’m trusting that sponsored tweets will fulfill Twitterâ€™s need for revenue and help move the company forward.
But Twitter users are not as keen on the idea. According toÂ Mashable, 42% of users don’t want additional spam in the daily lives. I believe they enjoy using Twitter without advertising screaming in their face, much like on Wikipedia. However, I would encourage the community to give Twitter the benefit of doubt.
Sponsored tweets will likely be less annoying than regular advertising. They will be similiar in form to sponsored Yelp reviews, but the value of their content will be higher, because they may contain an interesting call to action; they might even open doors to information youâ€™d never stumble upon on your own.
I’m looking forward to the results from Twitter campaigns to learn the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of a true social media advertising model; weâ€™ll find out if this will be the Holy Grail we’ve been searching for.
So yes, Twitter is jumping on the advertising bandwagon with the rest of our favorite sites and thatâ€™s big news (though not as big as it could have been). But hopefully this is just a first step towards developing revenue models so that more and more Twitter will Â reap the fruits of their laborâ€”and so that we may see fewer fail whales during the day.