Online Media Is Getting Robbed Of The Dollars It Deserves — Here’s How To Fix It
A tighter integration of commerce and traditional content is coming to the web and it’s a good thing: Right now most online media is getting screwed out of its rightful share of online ad dollars.
A fundamental problem of the online media business is that sites don’t get their fair share of advertising dollars relative to the purchasing intent they generate.
Media gets money from advertising. The reason companies buy advertising is because they get you to buy stuff; in other words they create purchasing intent.
But this comes in many flavors. Marketers use the analogy of a funnel. Marketers try to get us to buy stuff by pitching us through the funnel with messages that start wide, and finish narrow.
You might see a billboard, which might make you visit a website, which might get you to sign up for a newsletter, which might lead you to use a coupon, which might lead you to become a long term customer.
At the top of the funnel, you’re trying to generate purchasing intent. At the bottom, you’re trying to harvest it. As consumers move down the funnel, they get closer to buying whatever they’ve seen advertised.
What does this have to do with online media?
On the internet, marketers want to measure everything. But not everything is so easily measured, and ad dollars tend to flow not to the ads that work the best to generate intent, but to those whose effectiveness is most easily measurable. (Chris Dixon explains how this works in more detail.)
Think about it: which contributes more to purchasing intent? A favorable review by Times gadget god David Pogue, or the sponsored link atop a search for said gadget after reading the review? We would argue the former. And yet the latter is much more profitable, because it’s much easier to measure.
This problem sucks for everyone; it makes online media businesses harder to run, but it also means advertisers aren’t spending money as wisely as they could. Integrating media and commerce more tightly is one way to fix that.
New York startup Thrillist is a master at integrating media and commerce. Thrillist started out as an email newsletter for dudes, but it acquired private fashion sales site for dudes JackThreads, and built its own Groupon clone. Another great online media startup that does this very well is Sugar Inc, which runs a network of women-focused blogs which integrate shopping well.
The Times (which now has its own Groupon clone) looks at Thrillist’s model and frets that it might endanger the wall between the editorial and business sides of media organizations. But JackThreads’ founder Jason Ross says it best about Thrillist, “Their editorial voice is their credibility, so hurting that in any way would be pretty harmful.” There are zillions of gadget sites online. If one dropped its editorial integrity for short-term dollars, its readers would drop it like a hot coal.
A simple way to integrate commerce and content is through affiliate deals, where a post includes links to buy the product it’s talking about, with the site getting a cut. It can also involve a more elaborate linking of media sites and social shopping sites the way Sugar does. Or it can involve building commerce experiences tailored to your audience, like Thrillist does with men’s fashion and daily deals. There’s many ways to play this.
In the end, integrating media and commerce can be a win-win-win for online media, advertisers and consumers.
Although our services extend beyond the Web, Twitter ranks as one of the most popular sites on the Internet. Over the years, we’ve resisted introducing a traditional Web advertising model because we wanted to optimize for value before profit. The open exchange of information creates opportunities for individuals, organizations, and businesses alike. We recognized value in this exchange and planned to amplify it in a meaningful and relevant manner.
Stubborn insistence on a slow and thoughtful approach to monetization—one which puts users first, amplifies existing value, and generates profit has frustrated some Twitter watchers. Believe me, when your name is Biz and you’re a co-founder of Twitter, it also means putting yourself at the mercy of folks like Stephen Colbert whohit home runs with lines like, “So, I assume that ‘Biz’ in ‘Biz Stone’ does not stand for ‘Business Model’.”
We hope you’ll share in our enthusiasm as today we unveil a simple service we’re calling Promoted Tweets. It’s non-traditional, it’s easy, and it makes a ton of sense for Twitter. Our COO Dick Costolo will be talking about this much anticipated offering in detail today at the AdAge Digital conference. Tomorrow at Chirp, both Dick and our fearless leader Evan Williams will further discuss this program and what it means for the Twitter ecosystem.
This announcement is a long time coming and we’re thrilled to finally be able to share it with you. As this project matures, there will be more to talk about. We will learn a lot as the program grows. In the meantime, if you have questions about Promoted Tweets, please read through this Q&A provided by the small but incredibly hard-working team behind Promoted Tweets. Hopefully, you’ll get a good idea of what we’re working to achieve.
Q: What are you launching? What are Promoted Tweets?
A: We are launching the first phase of our Promoted Tweets platform with a handful of innovative advertising partners that include Best Buy, Bravo, Red Bull, Sony Pictures, Starbucks, and Virgin America—with more to come. Promoted Tweets are ordinary Tweets that businesses and organizations want to highlight to a wider group of users.
Q. What will users see?
A. You will start to see Tweets promoted by our partner advertisers called out at the top of some Twitter.com search results pages. We strongly believe that Promoted Tweets should be useful to you. We’ll attempt to measure whether the Tweets resonate with users and stop showing Promoted Tweets that don’t resonate.
Promoted Tweets will be clearly labeled as “promoted” when an advertiser is paying, but in every other respect they will first exist as regular Tweets and will be organically sent to the timelines of those who follow a brand. Promoted Tweets will also retain all the functionality of a regular Tweet including replying, Retweeting, and favoriting. Only one Promoted Tweet will be displayed on the search results page.
Q. You said, “first phase”; what else do you have planned?
A. Before we roll out more phases, we want to get a better understanding of the resonance of Promoted Tweets, user experience and advertiser value. Once this is done, we plan to allow Promoted Tweets to be shown by Twitter clients and other ecosystem partners and to expand beyond Twitter search, including displaying relevant Promoted Tweets in your timelines in a way that is useful to you.
Q: Is this what you said we would love and would be awesome?
A: While we are excited about the platform in general, there are several specific aspects of the launch that we are delighted to highlight. Since all Promoted Tweets are organic Tweets, there is not a single “ad” in our Promoted Tweets platform that isn’t already an organic part of Twitter. This is distinct from both traditional search advertising and more recent social advertising. Promoted Tweets will also be timely. Like any other Tweet, the connection between you and a Promoted Tweet in real-time provides a powerful means of delivering information relevant to you at the moment.
There is one big difference between a Promoted Tweet and a regular Tweet. Promoted Tweets must meet a higher bar—they must resonate with users. That means if users don’t interact with a Promoted Tweet to allow us to know that the Promoted Tweet is resonating with them, such as replying to it, favoriting it, or Retweeting it, the Promoted Tweet will disappear.
Q. Anything else to say?
A. This is a new thing and we expect to iterate to make it better. We’re really excited to get it out to you and look forward to getting your feedback.
By Crayton Harrison
Sept. 9 (Bloomberg) — Twitter Inc., the Web site that lets people post 140-character messages, plans to add services for businesses that will generate revenue in the fourth quarter, co-founder Biz Stone said.
The products might include an “analytics dashboard” to help companies monitor Tweets about their business, or verified corporate Twitter accounts, Stone told reporters yesterday at an event in Mexico City.
Twitter, based in San Francisco, is seeking ways to generate revenue after reaching 20.1 million U.S. users in June, according to researcher ComScore Inc. in Reston, Virginia. Companies using the service to communicate with customers may be willing to pay for added features, Stone said.
The paid services would probably be offered on a limited basis at first, Stone said. He didn’t say how much they will cost or how much revenue they could generate.
While Twitter is growing “like gangbusters,” there are many people who are aware of the site and aren’t yet using it, providing an opportunity for further expansion, Stone said. The company has a goal of expanding to about 100 employees this year from about 65, he said. Still, Twitter is being careful about ensuring it hires the right people, Stone said.
To attract more people to Twitter, the company’s designers are also working on a project to help new users discover others who might have similar interests or who live nearby, Stone said.
Twitter is so striking and hot now a days in internet community that I am not sure whether i will call a micro blogging site or social networking site. But it doesn’t matter what you call it. The important part is that you can take your business to Twitter to connect with your customers, clients, and fans in a way that you couldn’t do before. Twitter -for business is really different than plain Tweeting. I try to compile some useful tips that all kind of business can benefit by using Twitter.
- For business, you have to Tweet the stuff that matters to your audience—that makes a difference in their lives, work, minds, or, ultimately, wallets. When I represent my company on Twitter, I communicate with different mindset. The focus is on sharing information that matters or relevant to the person on the other side of the Tweet.
- You have to practice first how you can effectively use Twitter to sell or communicate your business. You can invite friends, have some new followers and get to know the basics with them. You have to know your goal before you connect with customers. Learn the tools thoroughly, see how the conversation grows, and be knowledgeable about Twitter before you start Tweeting for business.
- You can follow all of your staff from Twitter account. Follow colleagues in related companies and in your industry. Follow relevant brands and journalists a in your market, even those who compete with you. It’s nice to follow people. You are creating an interaction of a community by following people. People will notice who you are following and consider those as suggestions.
- Twitter is a great way to get answers to questions. Trying to figure out what your customers want to see or they are interested about? Use Twitter to ask them. It can give you an immediate snapshot of the scenario. This can be both instructive and productive.
- Take all complaints (and personal information) as private direct messages after the initial acknowledgment. Follow the person immediately and request details in a Direct Massage. Take the case away from twitter and try to solve it through personal channel.
Here’s this article in a tweet (less than 140 characters): "Potential Twitter business model: unlock massive mobile marketing dollars by using tweet content and GPS."
Imagine you are walking past a Starbucks and on your phone pops up a coupon/advertisement for coffee. I am not sure about you, but my reaction would likely be one of three:
1. "I don’t drink coffee" (I know I am in the minority on this one).
2. "I pay money for my mobile service, why the heck am I getting ads on my phone?"
3."Just because I am near a Starbucks doesn’t mean I have time for a coffee."
There is no guarantee of advertisement relevance based simply on proximity. And people’s mobile devices are far too personal to risk delivery of annoying ads. Then, of course, there is people’s expectation that since they pay for their mobile service, there is no implied contract with providers that they would be willing to accept advertising (in fact people pay for EVERYTHING under current wireless contracts, ironically including the data usage to download advertisements ?). Ahhh, the dream of GPS-targeted advertising on mobile devices: so much promise, and yet so many flaws.
There’s an App for That. But a Revenue Stream?
Published: August 9, 2009
An app from KCRW, a public radio station.
Now, if only there were an app that showed media companies how to make money on the iPhone.
For them, the early days of iPhone applications resemble the early days of the Internet. They know they need to have an app for the iPhone, and so they are creating appealing ones that are loaded with features.
“The iPhone has really been a phenomenon, so I think most media brands, at least the national ones, are thinking it’s a place they have to be,” said Matt Jones, vice president for mobile strategy and operations at Gannett Digital-USA Today.
Yet, as with the Web, it is far from clear how much revenue media apps for the iPhone can produce.
“We’re all trying to figure out as we go: is there a subscription model here, is it an advertising model, is there a monthly recurring revenue stream, is it a one-time payment model?” Mr. Jones said. “It’s a very fluid model.”
Media executives began thinking about iPhone applications in 2008, when Apple started allowing outside developers to create applications for the iPhone. (Google and Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, followed Apple with their own application stores, allowing designers to create programs for phones running their operating software.)
Application developers can make money either by setting a price for their applications or showing advertising on them. Media companies have chosen mostly to offer their apps free. In the top 20 free news applications on a recent day, 15 established media brands were sponsoring apps. But in the top 20 paid news applications, only two were associated with big media brands — Al Jazeera and Reddit, a technology Web site that Condé Nast owns.
Mobile Apps ?
Mobile software is designed to run on handheld computers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), enterprise digital assistants (EDAs), smartphones and cellphones. Since the first handheld computers of the 1980s, the popularity of these platforms has risen considerably. Recent model cellphones have included the ability to run user-installed software.