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Twitter Monetization: Who’ll be the Real winner?

Milly Diaz
Milly Diaz
Associate Director of Social Media
25 February 2010

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According to new reports, next month Twitter will be launching an ad platform to make some money (finally!).  The first generation of Twitter ads will apparently appear as hashtagged messages in users’ streams.

Details aren’t exactly clear at the moment.

Interestingly, Twitter’s head of monetization indicated in an interview that they wouldn’t be in control of ads per se — they’re going to provide a platform that people can innovate around and publishers (I assume he means us Tweeters) the choice of what ads go out.   Furthermore, they aren’t looking to control how the ad tweets will be viewed/consumed.

Here’s my theory on what I think they’re going to do.

I think Twitter is planning on making money (commission?) by brokering deals between brands and people (or organizations) with a high number of engaged followers.

They’ve studied the Twittersphere and its Tweple.  Through an analysis of tweets, followers, followings, Biz and Ev’s team have probably drawn up a list of the most ‘monetizeable’ among its 70 million account holders.

If my theory is correct, it looks like Twitter has accepted that if it wants to make any money at all, it will have to share its profits with others.

When you join Twitter, there isn’t a default Twitter account that you are required to follow.  So, there isn’t a way to ‘force’ a an official Twitter ‘tweet’ in to the streams of everyone in the Twittersphere.   They’ll need ‘publishers ‘ to help them get advertising messages out.

Also, the fact that many people access Twitter through APIs has probably ruled out a lot of ad sales options for them as well.

If you have a Twitter account, brush up your content and start engaging with people in the Twitterverse to grow your following.

In my opinion, people/organizations with engaged, huge followings will be the real winners of Twitter monetization.

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