If Twitter wanted to build their monthly average user (MAU) base they would look at ways to start paying their users. That’s right. Twitter would pay us, not the other way around. As you can see from the chart below, Twitter’s MAU growth has remained somewhat flat in the past 4 years. Maybe a little paid incentive could prevent their user base from plateauing.
When I think about some of the other top social media applications, the main ones that come to my mind are Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat. Ignore Facebook, it’s trash. All of these platforms have advertisers that pay their users based on average click through rates and other metrics associated with total views or eyeballs.
On Pinterest, users make money by collaborating with bigger brands. On Instagram, users make money by collaborating with bigger brands. On YouTube, users make money by getting advertisement revenue on eyeballs — like the 7 year old who made $22M last year reviewing toys. On Snapchat, users make money by private streams and/or advertisements.
So when you sum it all up, people are making money on these different social media networks by getting enough views where an advertiser of a product is willing to pay a certain amount to reach a targeted audience. The more followers you have the more money you typically get — assuming your engagement is high and your followers aren’t purchased.
We are turning ourselves into walking advertisements — which, to be honest, we should all be taking advantage of seeing how all of these companies use our data. I can barely even stand to get on Instagram anymore because everyone and their dog is selling skinny fit tea and teeth whiteners. More like Adstagram amirite? The Atlantic caught on to this trend late last year where they published an article on how posting Instagram sponsored content is the new summer job.
Let’s get back on topic since this is about Twitter paying us.
Obviously Twitter could try some of the same tactics that these other social media sites employ and be somewhat successful. We can use affiliate links and partner with advertisers and do collaborations. But a lot of that requires some upfront work and connections that a lot of us just don’t have. But maybe it could be much easier than that.
Here are a couple of thoughts I am proposing where each Twitter user could turn themselves into an advertisement revenue stream.
1.) Allow advertisers to use your profile background as ad space.
This is probably one of the most pointless things on Twitter if I’m going to be frank. My previous profile background image was of Ronald Reagan shooting a machine gun while riding a velociraptor that was holding an American flag. Very patriotic, believe me.
Let’s use my profile as an example of how this would work. Twitter would use their analytics to create a match between a user and an advertiser — like a Tinder match. My following is mostly finance related. Therefore, in this scenario, Twitter would pair me up with E-Trade, Goldman Sachs, Robinhood, or hundreds of other potential suitors. These advertisers could then reach out directly to the user and ask if they would be interested in collaborating together. The advertiser could pay a set monthly fee ($5-10,000/month) and bonuses for click-throughs, signups, or purchases. View this as your own personal billboard along the highway.
This is one of my top ideas because it seems so easy to implement and it uses up pointless dead space. Twitter would also take a percentage of the monthly cut by being the broker between the user and the advertiser.
2.) Insert ads into specific user feeds.
I rarely see ads on my Twitter stream. I don’t know if maybe I’m just getting lucky somehow or there just aren’t that many people taking ads out on Twitter.
Instead of placing ads on an entire feed, why not allow advertisers to work with specific users to allow them to place ads directly on someone’s feed?
Again, let’s use my Twitter account as an example. Say Robinhood wants to advertise on Twitter and they are willing to pay $1,000 to place an ad that will get 100,000 impressions. Wouldn’t it make more sense to target that ad to someone who actually has a chance of signing up a new customer based on the user’s targeted followers? So instead of placing the ad on everyone’s timeline and reaching out to people who don’t care about the stock market, partner with people who would statistically have a better chance at converting customers. See the chart below that I pulled from my Twitter that shows consumer buying styles.
I see this working a couple of different ways: If I partnered with this company for an ad placement, they would post the ad on every one of my followers’ timelines and I would receive a cut of the $1,000 once the 100,000 impressions are reached. Another way would be to have the advertiser insert ads within my own page. For instance, if someone clicks on my Twitter page and starts reading through my previous tweets, an ad will pop up after every 5-10 tweets are viewed.
Again, Twitter would take a cut (10%?) of this revenue since they brokered the deal.
3.) Turn retweets and likes into currency.
This idea is a little out there but stay with me on this one. Likes are pointless. We all know that. Retweets are much more important and people are typically more reserved when handing these out.
What if each Twitter user was granted a certain number of retweets and likes per month and they each had a monetary value associated with it? Say each one is worth $0.001 and Twitter gives out $0.50 worth per month. For those doing the math at home, that’s 330 million x $0.50 or about $165M per month or $500M per quarter. Shit, that’s Twitter’s entire revenue for the quarter. I’m sure they’ll figure it out.
So at $0.001 per retweet/like and $0.50 worth per month, you could divvy out 500 of these to your favorite tweets.
Now think of a post that goes viral and gets 100k retweets and 300k likes. That’s 400k x 0.001 = $400. Not that significant but it’s greater than zero.
I think this idea entices people to try to produce better content and get tipped for it accordingly.
Potential issues I see with this is people creating bot accounts to basically pay themselves and people stealing content — because it’s the Internet. I’m sure Twitter could figure out a way to police this kind of activity.
4.) This post is getting a little lengthy so now I’m leaving it up to you.
What other ideas do you have that Twitter could employ so that all of its users could start making a little or a lot of money on the side?
I’m going to send this to my Twitter contact and we will see if we can make a change.