Twitter Says “Show Me the Money”

We’ve discussed in class ideas on how twitter might try to start turning a profit much like their widely successful social media counterpart facebook. In the next two months it was reported that twitter came up with an idea, promoted tweets! Who would have guessed? The promoted tweets are going to show up right in the middle of your twitter stream. Previous attempts had these types of promoted tweets just show up in twitter search or hootsuite but now the company says they will be right in the middle of your timeline. The company is looking into ways to make sure we’ll see them — such as making the promoted tweets “sticky,” so they stay at the top of the page no matter how far you scroll down.

What remains to be seen is whether advertisers will buy the idea and nudge Twitter into profitability. The site is expected to gross $100 million this year, far short of the $3.5 billion Facebook will be raking in from display ads.


As business students we knew twitter was going to somehow come up with a way to start making some serious cash. Do you think this is the right approach?


The article raised a great question also:


Will Twitter users revolt against sticky Promoted Tweets this fall, accept them as a necessary evil, or perhaps even find them useful targeted advertising?


7 thoughts on “Twitter Says “Show Me the Money”

  1. Its a sticky area for twitter because they don’t want to disrupt the relationship that they have with their members. I think that adding too many ads will push away some users especially if it overbearing.
    Twitter has a much more valuable route to take. They have a lot of data to sell to companies and they can analyze this data for corporations and provide reports. I don’t think throwing advertisements at people will help them maintain a successful business. They’re only as valuable as the people that are on Twitter.

  2. Maybe they have a second revenue plan to allow users to buy blocks on the promoted tweets? I think it’s a mistake in the long run. If it becomes too much, then users will just switch to another platform for ‘tweeting’ over time. I say over time because there will have to be another site that has as many users. Getting to the point of millions of users takes time.

    To be honest, when I first read promoted tweets, I had another idea in mind. I thought it was when users can pay to have their own tweets at the top of their followers streams for a certain amount of time. This actually might be helpful if your starting a small business where you need to gain awareness. Just a thought.

  3. I think that promoted tweets is a good idea, however, “sticky” promoted tweets would be a big turn off for a lot of people. Let’s face it, a lot of ads are down right annoying. Some are even intentionally annoying (Old Navy). By making these tweets constantly appearing on screen, it is likely that many will not stay on twitter for as long anymore. Additionally, where does one draw the line. Will these tweets constantly appear on the tiny screens of mobile devices, ipads, laptops, etc.? That’s a lot of real estate to be asking for when viewed on these small displays. I think promoted tweets is a very good way to generate revenue, but promoted tweets that are constantly displayed on screen would be too much. Either just incorporate them into the stream like regular tweets, or at least give them a time limit. No one wants to look at ads 100% of the time on any medium. Twitter is not an exception.

  4. One thing I’m curious about is whether Twitter would make “sticky” promoted tweets a requirement for third parties that use their API (like HootSuite, TweetDeck or Seesmic). I currently use TweetDeck and promoted tweets show up at the top of my saved search columns (they’re not sticky, though). If these “sticky” ads on Twitter’s website are really obtrusive I think we will see more and more people migrating to one of these 3rd party clients, unless they too are required to make the ads sticky. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Twitter updates terms and conditions of the API to make this required so as not to lose out on any potential revenue.

    I find it hard to imagine that ads would eventually drive people away from Twitter all together. However, I could envision Twitter offering a “premium” membership that (for a monthly fee) would remove those pesky sticky ads. But a premium membership would have to offer additional features than that to really appeal to people. I think one thing that a lot of Twitter users would like and might pay for is having access to a longer timeline that goes further back in time than they currently offer.

  5. I think as we have discussed in class that Twitter serves a very different purpose from Facebook in that it is relied on as a direct conversational tool as opposed to a place to post. So I don’t think at this point Twitter is at risk of loosing its place in the market. However I do think that it is a relevant point that Twitter needs to start profiting in order to maintain its foothold in the social media market. I think that Twitter needs to be really careful in how sticky these ads become. One of the beauties of there service is its authenticity. If it becomes overrun by ads, I think it will quickly lose its mass appeal among its audience.

  6. I think consumers today realize that most social media platforms they use will inevitably start using advertising as a means to make money. I don’t think Twitter users will leave because of promoted tweets, just like Facebook users haven’t left as they introduce new advertising. I read on another site that only tweets that are retweeted or bookmarked by users will become promoted tweets, and those that are not will disappear from search. So it seems that the promoted tweets could be somewhat relevant to the users. Making the tweets sticky, though, will probably cause initial frustration among users. My opinion though, is that after the initial protest, users will just accept it as a necessary evil.

  7. In my opinion, the stickiness of these ads is going to be a problem. There needs to be a way to turn it off. A good example is Pandora. I enjoy looking at the album covers of new artists that are recommended by the site. When an ad takes over the page, it’s fine, because I can close out of it. If they want to make real money, they should start charging businesses to use it. It’s a marketing tool that facilitates business like other channels do. Companies are incurring costs to manage their website or a call center, why not a Twitter feed?

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