Ads on Twitter … So?

By Steve Outing

On BusinessWeek.com, Ben Kunz writes about the trouble Twitter is having coming up with a business model. He suggests a bunch of possibilities, but finds problems with all of them.

I don’t get it. It strikes me that the best model is incredibly simple, and powerful: Insert a “TwitterAd” entry every 50 entries or so. Kunz thinks “users would rebel.” I doubt it. That’s a minor price to pay for a free service, and most folks will understand that it’s a necessity for the service to continue to serve them.

And if you don’t like the ads, then pay an annual fee (say, $20) for the ad-free version.

There’s been concern that advertising in social networks doesn’t work that well, but that’s not a concern here. I’m reminded of something I learned in doing some Eyetrack research a few years ago for the Poynter Institute. When ads were put directly in the editorial flow of content, they were seen and acknowledged much more than when off to the side.

And when an ad is designed in the same way as surrounding editorial content (color, font, etc.), it’s noticed even more. “TwitterAd” tweets would fit those criteria and my educated guess is that the ads would be incredibly effective, especially if Twitter adds contextualization to the mix (or select-the-type-of-ads-you-want schemes a la WeatherBug).

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!