In 2010, Twitter began allowing advertisers to publish ads in its first widespread attempt to monetize the popular site. During that year, Twitter earned $45 million dollars worldwide in ad revenues (100% of those ad revenues came from the United States). By 2011, those ad revenues had more than tripled to $151 million worldwide ($140 million from the United States and $11 million from the rest of the world). New predictions show that number is expected to climb by over 65% in 2012 to a total ad spending revenue for Twitter of $250 worldwide ($225 million from the United States and $25 from the rest of the world).
It’s safe to say that Twitter’s advertising initiatives to monetize the site are working, but there is still a lot of room for growth and many opportunities available to boost those earnings without damaging the user experience that people expect from Twitter.
Twitter’s existing advertising program isn’t all that intrusive. For example, it’s easy to ignore the sponsored tweets that appear in trending topics or within your Twitter timeline because they’re not overwhelming and don’t clutter the timelines of users who follow a handful of active tweeters. At the same time, it’s easy to click on those that interest you in order to learn more. The trick for Twitter is finding additional monetization opportunities that don’t negatively affect the existing user experience. Users have strong expectations for how the site should look and perform. That must not be damaged.
Your company needs to do the same time when it comes to monetizing content and selling products through social media marketing. Don’t let your monetization and marketing efforts damage the user experience and customer expectations for the brand.
Twitter’s recent focus on tightening the reins on third-party apps and acquiring popular properties like TweetDeck are an indication that Twitter is actively looking for ways to monetize the site beyond the standard timeline interruptions. These steps are also likely to provide even more demographic and behavioral data about users, which can boost ad targeting and returns for advertisers.
What type of advertising or monetization efforts are you willing to accept on Twitter? What are your customers willing to accept from your brand? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.
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