Twitter – Will Emerge as the Personal Advertising Medium.

February 10, 2009

in general

I have a theory. Most of the Twitter money making ideas (I’ve seen) relate to selling into Twitter or using it as some research database. That’s unfortunate. For I think the most interesting opportunity is when people / individuals use it to sell out or over Twitter. Most of us get on to Twitter and then just follow a few friends and interesting people. But what’s most interesting is the reverse. A world where “tweets” to the public feed are more likely to bring you more income, a date, ride home, etc. If that happened more often behavior would change.

So, take a moment and hear me out.


Are Tweets really just 140 Character ads?
Is Twitter already an advertising medium (see definition below)? I’m sure the majority don’t think so. Yet every Tweet is advertising something. What would happen if we thought advertising on Twitter was a good idea? Is an undirected tweet (eg not @ or d) really just an ad disguised as a status message? I’d like to make the case that once we understand Twitter as a personal advertising medium it will become even more popular. Right now Tweet “reach” could be everyone. But without filters or search behavior few will ever see your Tweet or the context for it.

What Twitter Ads could you write?
Imagine how many ads you could write for yourself in a day. From ride to info wanted. Items you want to create a for sale listing or simply help wanted. Then think about ads you don’t now write but could if you could tie them to specific location coordinates. What about a reward to clean up an area, or advertise something lost in an area. Or a gardener or plumber that just completed a job. Or leaving an ad in your favorite bar suggesting looking for a date.

Would you advertise to your staff about things you’d like someone to take initiative on. Would you advertise to suppliers and customers about new specs required or services? I think we are only just beginning to do it and those that learn early will have an advantage.

Are Twitter Ads the Dawn of a Better Format?
Traditional classified ads are too restrictive. They run for fixed periods, they tell you nothing about who’s behind the ad. It’s hard or impossible to share your classified with your friends. Oh… word of mouth. Traditional ads are clumsy when it comes to location. They also limit or charge you for extra details and force decisions like shall I put my mobile number on it or use my home phone. Personal ads may be even worse. I know if someone has got something for sale and I know someone that needs it I will pass it along.

Twitter results still needs further development:
The downside. If Tweets are ads then Twitter is a lousy mechanism for working out who responded to what. This is even more true when you tweet alot. #tags help although they don’t solve the notification problem. If you listed your eBay items how would you know which ad people are responding too. It’s a combination of solutions that required.  Ads also need an easy mechanism to escalate. For ads may target your followers but are more likely going to get results in 1) the public stream or 2) be returned as part of a search result. Without a third party service messages between the two or more parties require following, or changes in settings to @reply monitoring.

As for your tweet being picked up in the public stream… it is simply unlikely. Unless it has more value or can be found when someone needs to find something specific. Example #forsale Ford Mustang …. When people turn to Twitter to find stuff in search we’ve got a lot more chances and reasons to place these ads and look for them. What’s required is a way to communicate what and how this would work.

advertise – Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

1: to make something known to : notify
2 a: to make publicly and generally known b: to announce publicly especially by a printed notice or a broadcast c: to call public attention to especially by emphasizing desirable qualities so as to arouse a desire to buy or patronize : promote intransitive verb

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike February 11, 2009 at 1:44 pm

i completely agree. ilist.com is already capitalizing on the Twitter traffic by allowing users to promote their listings. it definitely seems like the best way for Twitter to make money will be form buying in.

ScoobyBro February 13, 2009 at 6:41 pm

I didn’t hear of ilist until a couple weeks ago but I don’t really mind the ads on twitter as long they are coming from real people versus some jackass trying to sell viagra.

Robert Haastrup-Timmi February 24, 2009 at 9:26 pm

I think Twitter is clearly a new form of advertising, however I believe it would need to evolve as a vertical platform, instead of one size fits all.

For intance, I intend to develop Tweetshopping.com for people and businesses that want to follow shopping habits of their friends or offers from brands and services. Twitter has shifted or raised the power of social networking to a level where it can be properly monetized going forward. Suppose a “tweet” could create a platform whereby ailing newspaper classifieds can now accrue a following on a ubiquitous classifieds tweet network?

The potential is endless. How about yellow pages? I think all those businesses can ultimately evolve a tweet following and close deals more meaningfully in a digital 21st century. Twitter has provided the catalyst! Stuart…great blog!

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