The secret to Twitter monetization is exactly what has been happening for the past 2 years.
Word of Mouth
Word of Month is where the monetization is to be achieved. Twitter has changed word of mouth. Your website or product can now find an audience of 15,000 easily thanks to one person half a continent away. You don’t even need a Twitter account to do it.
Making Money Off Companies On Twitter
First off, some have pointed to the idea that the key to monetization will be for Twitter to charge in some manner corporations to create their own entities on Twitter, to participate in discussions and use the conversation monitoring tools to track discussions about their products and interact with their followers. But I don’t believe that’s where the real opportunity lies. I think the most conversations on twitter will ever involve direct involvement with corporate twitter accounts is no more than 5%. How that strategy is adopted by enough companies in the long term too dependent on other factors:
- Whether it’s a corporate account like Jet Blue, or an actual person people are communicating with like RichardatDELL or LionelAtDell
- How the account can effectively represent and promote the company’s image strategically
- How the account helps in the promotion or interest by people in the company and its products
Too many specifics. It will be a very important channel for companies that want to communicate with the world. But as a vehicle for monetization it doesn’t capitalize on the real driving forces of the service.
Why Word Of Mouth
People thought that the company route would be easy to do because Twitter could charge companies to take part on twitter and to gain access to the value-added tools like conversation monitoring, a strategy that doesn’t interfere in the activities of its users. That’s a strength of this approach I agree with, as we’ve seen how fickle some Twitter users can be.
I instead see the real power of the service and the key to monetization in the power of one user to share an idea with 8,000 other people which then drives a book to the top sellers list at Amazon. It’s in the ethereal body of messages sent back and forth in where products and services will achieve mass adoption. Where if I ask my followers what’s the best solution for on-line invoicing for small business, my decision is then 95% decided. And it will happen whether or not any particular company is participating in the conversation.
“Word of mouth has changed.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
Josh Davey and I were having a back and forth one evening where we came up with – what I thought was an awesome – idea for a way to take advantage of word of mouth on Twitter. There’s so much word of mouth going on between friends on Twitter everyday: friends recommending places to eat, books to buy, software or video games to buy, that the amount of dollars that the conversations on Twitter are helping to guide must be huge.
First I imagine a simple scenario where Twitter would make a dollar or two off every sale on Amazon that is originating from its service. Twitter is big enough now that it can justify the power of the conversations that it’s facilitating as being a factor in a product’s sale. Especially important now, it has the tools to measure that power, and it has the reputation to go to the big players like Amazon to make these sort of arrangements.
A second scenario, which reflects its focus on service stability and its acquisition of Summize, is to be a first party supplier that tracks, measures, and that can quantify the word of mouth power of its conversations as predictive of sales and other useful metrics which companies can use to react to sales trends before they even start.
With these approaches Twitter doesn’t need to rely and see its revenue be dependent on the social media adoption of companies, it can capitalize on what it’s service has been allowing all along.
Crazy conjectures? Close to other ideas on Twitter Monetization that you’ve seen or you’ve thought of? Thoughts?