Do you have a Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn account? The answer is likely yes as these social platforms are dominating the internet and collecting users faster than my glass table collects dust. However, have you thought about the different ways people are monetizing this “stream” of information? There is a pretty divided debate going on across the internet right now about whether or not Twitter, Facebook etc. should allow their users to interject advertisements into their streams because they are afraid it will damage the overall experience that users have with the services. What the pundits don’t realize about these ads is that all other forms of content publication have been generating revenues for their efforts on blogs, newspapers etc. for decades and there is no reason that someone with a large following should not be allowed to create money from this new age audience as well.
In fact some streams are actually made more interesting with the addition of an advertisement as pointed out by 1938media’s Loren Feldman (a largely anti-social media member). These ads may actually enhance the stream because they offer direct value to the audience (a product, service, event etc.) as opposed to simply being the daily ins and outs of a celebrity. As a follower you may actually be more interested in a marketing platform than if your favorite online marketer has gotten his 3rd cup of coffee today.
The current media and social platform love child for monetization is Ad.ly which has paired “top publishers” with “top brands” for extremely successful payouts, and huge returns for the advertisers. These sponsored streams have garnished a high number of click throughs and a high level of follower trust regardless of their transparent and clearly marked “#ad” or “#spon” denomination. Some of the highest profile users include Internet celebrity “Shoemoney” or Jeremy Schoemaker who has been preaching the benefits of in-stream advertising since day one, including an endorsement for SponsoredTweets.com (an Izea company) even with their low payouts. In fact he has even mentioned that he would be entering the segment had he not signed a non-compete following the sale of his largely successful AuctionAds platform.
What are they doing right?
Ad.ly got it right immediately upon launch, they realized that in order to be successful they needed a volume of publishers (who were willing) and a high payout to keep these publishers motivated to push through the advertisers message. By going with higher profile publishers and advertisers they were able to get a large sample size, prove the model and take only a small cut in the process. This small cut has led to increased payouts to publishers who then wrote up rave reviews and even bragged about how they were absolutely killing it on Twitter by “Making 15k from 6 tweets in a month” etc. If Ad.ly can keep up this momentum (which is likely with their current 12% referral program) they should be able to confidently corner the market and either reap the benefits off of the advertising revenues or sell to a giant such as Google much like Ad Mob did just last month for $750 Million.
What can they do better?
They are extremely sensitive to the fact that in order to become the defacto standard, they must also cater to the smaller scale publishers. Much like AdSense was able to do for small scale publishers in the traditional web content Ad.ly hopes to bring revenues into the long tail by using self service advertisements that allow any advertiser (most potentially affiliate marketers) and infuse their advertisements into a variety of publishers (or publishers based on keywords). These additional dollars will not only allow the small publishers a piece of the action but will allow for relationship control that is not managed by Ad.ly itself.
Arguably these self service platform could diminish the gigantic returns that advertisers and publishers have been seeing through the service, however it should bring enough new faces and dollars into the system that everyone should come out on top. If you are interested in checking out the Ad.ly program we have included a link below, as well as to SponsoredTweets.
For full disclosure, both links below are affiliate links; therefore any sign ups will benefit this blog.