On September 12th, 2013, Twitter announced (in a Tweet no less) that they were filing for an IPO. But what does this mean for your Twitter account? Does it mean anything at all?
There is no way to tell. But before you grab your pitchforks and smartphones to tweet about how useless this blog post is, hear me out: If it is anything like the Facebook IPO, we’re in for a lot more monetization and sponsored content. But maybe that’s okay, from a marketing standpoint!
Twitter’s userbase was built on the promise of connecting to the rich, famous, and powerful
It’s true! How cool did it initially feel to be able to “follow” Ricky Gervais, or your favorite sports or movie star? You know it felt pretty nifty. After all, it was like you were friends with celebrities! You could hear what they had to say, and then had the opportunity to be heard or – gasp – responded to by them. Simply wonderful.
Then came the business uses of Twitter for support and announcements
It didn’t matter if you were a mom and pop shop or a major corporation like Comcast. If you wanted to do business, it was helpful to have a place to talk directly with your customers. They loved the somewhat personal nature, and the companies liked the positive public relations for rectifying problems in creative ways.
Which also led to some pretty crazy PR nightmares…
But mostly, the use of Twitter for business has been fairly positive. In fact, Twitter began to monetize by offering “Promoted Tweets,” and “Promoted Hashtags.” It was a discreet, but interesting way of reaching out and marketing to users without getting in their face.
So what does this history have to do with the Twitter IPO?
Well, I’m willing to wager that the IPO will mean that we are more likely to see additional “Promoted” advertisements.
Facebook went ahead and added advertisements all throughout their site, including the login pages and now even in your photo feeds. While I sincerely hope that Twitter doesn’t stoop to the super intense level of ads that Facebook has on its pages, they could certainly be helpful for businesses trying to advertise on social media.
But aren’t most of the sponsored Twitter ads paid for by large corporations?
Yes, they absolutely are. You see a lot fewer small businesses getting in on the action for paid advertising on Twitter simply because of the lack of ad spaces available. (Which drives up the worth and cost)
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Twitter invest in more localized targeted advertisements for particular hashtags – much like how search engine giants like Google and Bing use keywords in search to target advertisements. It just makes sense.
So ultimately the Twitter IPO could be huge – it could provide another avenue for small businesses to reach new customers with advertising. Or it could just end up being another play for large corporations. Only time will tell!