With Twitter finally announcing its public IPO last night, many users will be wondering how this development is going to affect them. While it’s unlikely to change anything about the way the site works, one thing would seem absolutely certain – and that’s that we’re going to be seeing a lot more ads popping up with its shareholders looking for a return on their investments.
The good news is that the ads are unlikely to be the kind of invasive spammy stuff that’s becoming a problem with the likes of Facebook and Google. Simply because, Twitter’s waited years for its IPO, until it knows that it’s got its advertising model just right.
We saw the clues earlier this year, when Twitter gave notice of its new advertising API back in February. Alongside the basic hashtags and promoted tweets, this gave advertisers new tools that allows them to create and deploy ads faster across a range of Twitter applications. This was quickly followed by the release of something Twitter calls “keyword targeting in timelines” last March, which allows advertisers to buy ads related to topics that users are interested in. Finally, Twitter introduced a way to sync tweets with TV ads.
These are the three main components of Twitter’s main offering, the one that it will use to try and woo investors for its IPO. Twitter is going to sell itself as the platform where people come to talk about news, sports, TV, music and anything else, as it happens. Twitter’s ad products have been designed so that they can be used to take advantage of real-time events, as they break. These ads can scale as opportunities do, giving advertisers a way to monetize rising trends on the web.
The signs are that people are buying into the idea. When Apple unveiled its new iPhones on Tuesday, just about every major carrier and numerous rival phone makers purchased Twitter ads, either to bask in its glory or to try and steal a little of the limelight.
Twitter’s plan also has its rivals worried. Not so long ago, Facebook began a rather pitiful attempt to try and convince the public and advertisers that it was the real platform for real-time news on the web – but of course we all know this is a complete lie. A quick look at my own Facebook wall for example, reveals the usual selection of food pics and amusing links, a few personal updates, and bugger all about Twitter’s IPO or anything that’s actually newsworthy.
As SiliconANGLE’s Kyt Dotson wrote in his analysis of Twitter’s IPO yesterday,
“Twitter is what (SiliconANGLE founder) John Furrier calls a crowd-related, signaling communications utility fabric and because of these first forays into putting user experience first, Twitter has become a staple of the consumer-connected web. Also as a result, businesses who do not use Twitter almost automatically lose out on giant portions of their audience.”
In other words, Twitter is the one genuine home of the real-time web – its the best way to buy ads and push them as events happen in the real world, and can be used to monetize virtually any and all buzz activity that’s doing the rounds on the interwebs. Twitter gives advertisers a way to push their ads into things as they happen – as opposed to Google’s and Facebook’s model of placing them alongside content, people and places.
In his post yesterday, Dotson was quick to point out that Twitter isn’t grotesquely monetizing, but it does rely heavily on its ability to provide and promote ads. It’s strategy for doing so appears to be sound, and all the evidence suggests that it’s going to work. If it does, we won’t see too many changes – maybe a few cosmetic ones, as the New Yorker’s Matt Buchanan points out, with maybe just a few more items being thrown into our feeds that we didn’t ask for, but even so they’ll be so familiar that few of us will notice them.
We’ll see more ads, but for the most part the post-IPO Twitter experience is going to be much the same as it’s always been.