Oppose to how easy to use Twitter and how useful it is; it is so hard to well-monetize the power of its user base and the content.
Twitter announced promoted tweets in 2012. It was maybe the first try to convert the virtual value to real dollars. To the end of 2013, Twitter started to display images in tweets automatically in the timeline. I guess this is a preparation for graphical ads which could be coming soon. What else can be?
I believe mobile games are a good source of revenue generation ideas. The challenge is almost same: While providing a free to use service earn money from those who would like to pay for more.
A “paid option” idea: Improved privacy & Twitter stealth mode option
Have you ever wanted to follow someone but did not want it to be known?
For example, a senior executive may not want that he/she is following a junior in his team while does not want to follow any other people in the same team. Or… you would like to follow someone but you’re concerned about the alert goes to the owner if you decide to unfollow since some people are really offended about unfollows.
Assume you may have a political view but you are interested to follow opposing view journalists and you’re concerned it would be understood wrong if someone looks at your “following” list.
Through an annual subscription although you are a public account (everybody can see your tweets, see your followers and follow you) you can follow some accounts without being published.
How does it work?
- If you have purchased the service then a new additional follow button will be enabled for you: “Follow privately“
- You can privately follow only public accounts since all others should be authorized by the owner anyway.
- If you choose to follow an account privately, then the owner of the account will not know that you are following. The “follower counts” can be updated or not, up to the Twitter team. I would consider them in counts and display as “private follower” with a dummy photo (something other than an egg) for other users to promote using this paid option.
- Since you are in stealth mode, you can not send or receive DM to/from the privately followed account.
- There will be an option in settings to configure display method for such followed accounts. Either to show them together with regular timeline or to see them separately in a “private timeline“
Would it sell?
Frankly, I could personally pay for such a service. Especially if I can categorize or filter such kind of follows and read them separately.
In most of the mobile games, what you can get by paying is also available in free but takes longer time or more effort. If you don’t want to pay for such a service, you can open a second twitter account anonymously and follow whoever you want from that account and switch accounts back and forth. For those who wants a quick solution, paid option is there!
I believe the actual challenge is to provide such kind of functionality while keeping the simplicity of Twitter. Basically, user experience! If the service is introduced as “simple“, “easy to subscribe“, “easy to adapt” then it could be a good source of revenue for Twitter.