I’m not talking to you, dear Mr. Creative Director. You make a good living and you do not hold any grudge against ads as such. But I’m addressing the common net surfer, the guy, who bravely updates his adblocker every other month and still gets bombarded with ever-mutating pop-ups, pop-unders and other intrusive inhabitants of various ad servers. But even he has learned that the “culture of free” requires somebody to pay the bill — not in cash, this is why researchers came up with the term The Attention Economy.
Twitter begs to differ though and promises users “ads they love” — now that sounds like a bit of a stretch, but actually, metadata-infos might do the trick. But until the company get’s their own “AdTweets” up and running, you’ll just love ad.ly.
In the light of Twitter’s immense growth over the last 6 months the team needs to monetize their service, and Twitter has never been too strict or too reluctant about allowing commercial content on their platform. And the cloud-hosted infrastructure gets increasingly expensive: each day, microbloggers are currently sending 27,3 mio tweets) or 10 billions a year, yet last month the overall number of tweets reached 5 billion.
The benefits to getting on the list are great indeed. Users added to the SUL, gained on average of 53,000 new followers after being on the list for a week and 170,000 within the first month. Some users even gained as many as 370,000 in the first 30 days.
Earlier this year, there were some speculations about paid spots on this list — by now it seems much more likely that Twitter will replace the static list with some — yet to be defined — authority algorithm, while advertising will happen somewhere else. Scoble suggests the metadata-section of so-called “SuperTweets”:
So, what is a SuperTweet?
Well, first, some rules for building new ads and features for Twitter that people will love.
1. You can’t mess with the Tweet. That’s sacrosanct. So, we’re stuck with the 140 character rules, along with the rules of @replies and hashtags and all that.
2. You may NOT introduce new ad models inside the Tweet. You may NOT put ads inside Tweets.
3. You may NOT introduce new ads that look like Tweets.
So, what is a SuperTweet?
It is a Tweet with a meta data payload.
Think about all the meta data that exist OUTSIDE of the Tweet. How about you mouse-over a Tweet to see a new slide-down UI that shows you all the meta data.
The basic idea is adding surplus-value to a tweet. That’s basically what a lot of music services do: while they offer free streaming content, a link labelled “buy this mp3 at XYZ” lets listeners buy their favorite tune. The possibilities are quite limitless:
How about a Tweet that talks about a book. Someone could write “Loved Trust Agents by Brogan.” That could link to Amazon so you could put it on your Kindle.
There is ton of things that Twitter could do here to bring ads that people love, thanks to a SuperTweet infrastructure, and yes, I will love it.
Of course, this kind of advertising would require some changes in Twitter clients. What good is the ad-metadata, if the user doesn’t get to see it? On the other hand, Twitter’s web interface still is the weapon of choice for most users: 47 percent prefer the browser-interface, so Twitter can definitely pack some punch in this field.
Are SuperTweets the future of Twitter advertising, then? Probably yes, but one questions remains: will this system only work for large brands and retailers, or will the “keyword bookings” be accessible for anyone? We’ll find out when and if Twitter launches SuperTweets, but in the meantime there’s no need to wait: in the last 6 months, a couple of 3rd party advertising services launched their sites. The basic principle always is the same: microbloggers register their accounts and get paid for ad tweets based on their number of followers. Advertisers use the interface to offer their sponsored tweets, some scripts do their match-making work and the microblogger says yes or no.
I got offered up to 200$ for a single tweet, but haven’t sent out any ads yet — but I probably will: Thanks to the approval system, there is no danger of spamming your followers. Among those services, ad.ly is my personal favorite: it’s a viable eco-system, they have plenty of advertisers and tweepers and the best thing is: even if your number of followers is low, there’s still a great way to make some decent profit: last week, ad.ly launched their affiliate program which pays 12%!
Why is this great? Even if you only have 100 followers on your own account, getting a couple of Twitter whales to sign up with ad.ly will earn you decent amount of cash. Also, to prevent manipulation ad.ly is quite strict about their “quality score”:
Sean told me that unlike every other Twitter network, the ad.ly self service platform works off of a quality score. A user with 200 REAL FOLLOWERS could make more than someone with 20000 bot followers that never click or convert.
So there’s no reason to wait — actually, the longer you wait the more money you leave on the table. And even if you’re not into monetizing your own account, you’re probably very interested in your own quality score, so…