Speculation On Twitter Monetization – Google AdSense

Posted on in Blog

There’s been a lot of talk about how Twitter will monetize its traffic in the near future. There are rumors about Twitter talking with Google & Microsoft about search partnerships. There have also been speculations that Twitter may develop its own cost per click bidding model.

I recently started tossing around each scenario in my head weighing the pros and cons of each option. As a search marketer, naturally I’m most curious about what would happen if Twitter and Google hooked up.

The way I see it, there are three basic locations where Twitter could place Google ads. Twitter could put ads on RSS feeds, on search pages or on profile pages.

There are two main types of RSS feeds that Twitter offers, query feeds and profile feeds. If Twitter partnered with Google search, search ads could be placed in these search query feeds and be highly targeted for advertisers. As a search marketer, this type of an ad placement would be a welcomed opportunity for many of the clients I manage. For example, if I managed an e-commerce site that sold iPod cases, I’d definitely want to serve ads on this iPod Cases feed.

Social consumers love to brag about what a good deal they got on their newest purchase. When tweeters tweet about those deals marketers should jump. From what I can tell, someone tweets about iPod cases every 2-3 hours. That could be powerful.

Twitter could also use AdSense ads on the profiles and profile feeds using either text or image formats. This type of an opportunity wouldn’t be much different for marketers than traditional Google content/placement targeting ads and could be a great branding opportunity.

The most obvious place Twitter could place ads is on the search results pages. There are already sites making money using the Twitter/Google combination like Twoogle.com. There’s also a Greasemonkey script that inserts Twitter search results at the top of the organic Google results (Firefox browsers only, of course).

The catch to all of this is, what happens when users don’t actually visit Twitter.com to manage their profiles? This is already common due to the sheer number of external apps designed exclusively for Twitter publishing. Will Twitter eventually start charging app designers to access its API? Uh oh.

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