The Twitterverse is abuzz today with the Twitterati cyberventilating over Twitter's decision to dip their advertising toe into the Twitterstream. While users disagree over the merits and shortcomings of such an initiative, Twitter like Google needs to claim a monetization scheme that transforms them from a free service into a profit center.
As much as there are similarities with other Internet ad models, I think Twitter was wise enough to devise a new metric, one that would be more robust than just a carbon copy of Google Adwords' cost-per-thousand model. And I'm thinking - their 'Resonance' metric might just do the trick.
Today on Twitter's blog, Biz Stone reminded the world that because 'making money' was not Twitter's original concern, he has often been chided by the likes of Stephen Colbert "who hits home runs with lines like, 'So, I assume that 'Biz' in 'Biz Stone' does not stand for 'Business Model.'" The blog goes on further to give us a snapshot of what the Twittersphere will look like when advertisers come a' knockin'.
According to a Dick Costolo, Twitter's chief operating officer and one of Twitter's initial investors, "Twitter will measure what it calls resonance, which takes into account nine factors, including the number of people who saw the post, the number of people who replied to it or passed it on to their followers, and the number of people who clicked on links."
Twitter is not the first to try to build an ad model around Twitter search results. Search-ad pioneer Bill Gross unveiled TweetUp this past week, which allows marketers to promote their own tweets by buying keywords (see my previous post titled, "TweetUp Adwords or Organic Tweets").
While the Twitter's cost-per-thousand will be introduced first to get the ball rolling, the next phase of the revenue plan will calibrate the 'lift in resonance' as a metric that relies more on the 'wisdom of crowds' than the Google model.
Likening the Twitterstream as a metaphor for a 'stocked fishing pond,' ads that perform well will stay in the Twitterstream causing e a 'lift in resonance.' Branded Ads that don't rise above the resonance score of a typical tweet will be snagged out of pool and the advertiser will no longer be charged. It's a 'win' for Twitter users who are against a congested Twitterstream, and its a 'win' for brand advertisers who either earn trust and retweets or are rejected to formulate a better ad another day.
The question will be if the early advertisers like Starbucks and Virgin Atlantic ' who have both earned credibility in creating a 'conversational' presence on Twitter will be as successful in converting their tweets into ads and their ads into retweets.
Unlike search ads on Google, Bing and Yahoo, there will only ever be one Twitter ad displayed at a time - so advertisesrs may garner some attention. Will it be enough to sustain a full-blown ad campaign is still a big question mark?
UPDATE: April 14, 2010 - Biz Stone had this to say about 'Promoted Tweets' and 'Resonance' at the Chirp Conference.
For all those attended Chirp, Twitter's first developer conference this week in San Francisco, I'm sure you will get up front and personal with the new model. Here's hoping it's 'additive' and will resonate with the majority of users to provide us with an either better Twitter experience - and that it quiets some of the noise still buzzing throughout the hallowed halls of Twitterdom, both PRO and CON.
Pro Promoted TweetsCon Promoted Tweet