The Sponsored/ Promoted placement business model

Who to follow on Twitter: spot the sponsored account
Who to follow on Twitter: spot the promoted account

Sponsored placements or sponsored posts or promoted content are one of the latest forms of monetisation I’ll be discussing in this series.

Imagine you were the CEO of Twitter before it made any money. You have several million users all posting content all day long, and several more million users consuming this content without posting.

You have a few options at this stage – you can make the website look the same as all other websites and sprinkle some ad placements over the page, but this won’t work on mobile and it may devalue your proposition of keeping a vertical conversational timeline simple.

Twitter introduced promoted tweets in April 2010, and rolled it out publicly in 2012. By then, Twitter had already generated over $280 million of advertising revenue in two years from a standing start.

Promoted content works well because t’s less intrusive – it can have subtle branding to differentiate promoted (sponsored) content from regular content items, without sticking out like a banner ad.

Newspapers and publishers have historically steered clear of sponsored content. It can often devalue premium content if it’s implemented incorrectly (see this blog post for an example of how badly it can be implemented), but it works well on digital formats.

There are now many digital properties offering promoted or sponsored content. In the B2B world, one of my favourite daily industry emails, TechMarketView, now offers Sponsored Posts, as well as Facebook in the B2C world.

The future

Only time will tell if the promoted or sponsored post model will last the test of time. Personally, I think it’s all about the implementation – subtle yet clearly differentiated content.

 

For other monetisation methods, view the complete list.

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