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Thursday, September 16, 2010

The most valuable real estate on OldTwitter, and why it's important to NewTwitter

My Twitter account hasn't been upgraded yet, so I haven't been able to look at the "#NewTwitter" but in absence of that I'd like to comment on my what I think is the most valuable web real estate Twitter has in the old Twitter.

It's the dialog that comes up after a user clicks the official Tweet Button:

There's a few reasons I like this dialog and think it's smart in the way it is designed compared to some of it's ilk, and really think Twitter will benefit from this button, the fact that it seems to be getting more use notwithstanding.

On Techcrunch, posts are always tweeted more than buzzed, liked, or dugg.

Specifically I like it because:

1. The user has just finished an action - that is, reading a story, and decided to share it - so the chance they will begin a new action is greater than if they were in the middle of reading that story and doing anything else.

Because they have the user's undivided attention here, the chance the user will execute the "conversion", which in this case is to follow the publisher from which this story came, is greater than average.  Another way to say this is if you consider this an "ad" to follow this publisher, I think there's a good chance it will get a click.

Most people think that internet ads are all pretty much the same, but the reality is that there is actually a huge difference in how an ad performs that is dependent on the intent of what the user is doing at that very moment.  Many display advertisers that put their medium rectangles in the middle of content don't actually expect you to click on that ad, but just see their brand and campaign while you are reading.   Search advertisers, on the other hand, know you are "ready to buy" and thus advertise accordingly on search result pages.

These are relevant and at an attention break, so I think they will work.  

2. This dialog is converting transient search users to followers, and a follower is worth more to the publisher (and Twitter) than a transient search user.

Why?  If a publisher is in the game of tracking their CPM for the ads on their page, a search user is registering 1 impression, while the chance that a follower will see more than 1 impression over time will be pretty great, because now this publisher is pushing many links per day at this user into their timeline.

In this case above, I had never really heard of Amp Magazine, but I found them via a Google Search, and seeing they have some pretty cool content chose to follow them.   Now I get a whole lot more content.

Applications that can take traffic from Google Search and turn it into something else, tend to do pretty well.   Look no further than Google AdSense for content as an example.

So where does this all go?

Well, if you view Twitter as both an underlying protocol and an application that will use that protocol that will help "level the playing field between creators and consumers of content" we can see the value Twitter thinks they get by easily providing a way for these publishers to reach these consumers.   The more of these creator/consumer relationships they create, the better.

I will also mention though, that although "you don't need to tweet to get value from Twitter"  - there are indeed a lot of people tweeting and it's important that they continue to do so, so that they can be in the very same environment as the content publishers, and the pure content consumers.  In fact, the "tweeters" are the ones that need to be the foundation of the content consumers.

This allows Twitter down the line to offer advertising in #NewTwitter (revenue share TBD) and also, perhaps more importantly, push their own search, and sell their own search advertising.   If you are converting search users to followers, and they are spending more time in the NewTwitter, then you begin to have a chance to compete for that small section of search traffic that is looking for what is happening now.

In the "economy of attention" - every little bit of time spent on the platform helps, and that's what this dialog does - gets consumers to incrementally spend more time on this platform, and less time in others - such as Facebook and any other future platforms that may start competing for user's attention.

Of course, this is all conjecture, but it's fun to get out the crystal ball and make predictions nonetheless.

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