For its next talk at Chirp, Twitter execs Ev Williams and Dick Costolo to discuss something that hasn’t really been associated with Twitter before: Monetization. I’ll be live blogging my notes on his his talk below.
Starbucks/ John Battelle have taken the stage for a Q&A:
Q: Have you started thinking at Starbucks about which tweets will be promoted? Do you have a team fighting to have their tweet promoted?
Starbucks:We don’t want it to be an ad, we want to break through the noise. (Battelle: but it’s an ad).
Q: When you say it isn’t an ad, what do you mean?
Costello: We want stuff that is organic… Starbucks had a tweet retweeted thousands of time.
Q: The notion fo promoted tweet disappearing after some time is compelling. I’m guessing most marketers, when they pay for something, they expect it to be seen.
Costello: You don’t pay for tweets that don’t get seen.
Q: Similar to AdWords. You don’t pay until a click occurs, that’s a quality signal. Google is secretive of the algorithm. Is Twitter going to be more open?
Costello: We will provide resonance score to the company. What we don’t want to do, I’m not saying we will never do this. I’d like to try not to publish the formula, then people will just try to game it.
Q: From Starbucks’ point of view, what do you do to create resonance? What have you learned?
Starbucks: I think we try to listen to the community, see what they want. A lot of people have relationship not with Starbucks but with their barista/store. It’s about listening, finding a way to be relevant.
Q: Do you let anyone post?
Starbucks: Social media policy? We’re working on it.
Q: Real time interest graph. Can you say more on that?
Costolo: Twitter is this very visible public, one-to-many relationship, not just with people but CNN Breaking news, WSJ, other things. We’re not just a social media platform or microblogging, we’re the web’s interest graph. Can look and see, “this person is interested in this kind of thing”. That’s super interesting and compelling for companies to be able to target that interest graph. It’s our obligation to prevent them from doing it in a way that harms the user experience.
Q: With Promoted Tweets, your goal is for a brand to go to a dashboard.. see how tweets resonate..
Costolo: We’re being very cautious. We may see that the only thing that really works is Geo. If someone only wants a promotion to only show up to people near Lollapalloza, that seems obvious.. there are a bunch of ways, we don’t know what people will like/hate.
Q: Can third parties curate out promoted tweets?
Costolo: I don’t think they’ll have to. If you don’t want to participate in Promoted Tweets, so you don’t have to take them. I imagine that someone will build tools to filter out Promoted Tweets. That happens with AdSense right now. That’s life.
Q: You have 105 million users. How many engaged active users do you have?
Costolo: I don’t know. I don’t think we’ll be able to know because it depends on the way people use Twitter. People see tweets on other sites. There are ways we will try. We will have to.
Q: You do know how many active users, in terms of people who use their accounts to tweet.
Costolo: The absolute number of accounts that tweet, we do know. But it’s a consumption service.
Q: Can you give a timeline for rolling out monetization?
Costolo: No. But it won’t be as late as next year, or some of us won’t be working at Twitter any longer.
Q: Will anyone be able to use Promoted tweets?
Costolo: There is self serve. We may have a restriction as far as how long your account has been around, etc. We absolutely imagine a third party ecosystem will develop around this.
Q: If Starbucks needs to have a tweet resonate for it to appear as a Promoted Tweet, wouldn’t it already be shown in your search engine (which will eventually incorporate resonance) anyway?
Costolo: We just don’t know how resonance is going to work yet. Lots of factors to look at.
Costolo: You don’t get paid you retweet a promoted tweet. There are already so many kinds of sophisticated spam people try to create spam. We have ideas about what they will do with Promotion, we are already working on that. We don’t wan to add fuel to the fire by offering money to people retweeting. Other thing, if someone says something great about Starbucks, can Starbucks retweet and promote it? We’re not allowing that at first. Answer two re: it’s not 50% if it’s less tax/costs. That’s standard in the industry. There’s a net revenue number that comes in.
Q: Is this the long term rev model, or just a response to market demand for a model?
Costolo: I think we’ve been good at not responded to a market demand for a model. I think this will be one pillar of what will probably be a two pillar system. Second will probably be commercial accounts. We can thread those together. Single underlying analytics dashboard. Companies will have single dash for promoted tweets, multiauthored accounts, etc.
Q: Any forbidden tweets/links?
Costolo: We have a huge trust/safety team. Focused on malware, tweets that shouldn’t be in the environment.