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Monetising tweets

  |  November 20, 2013

Twitter's focus is now on making money. That is the message of Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal who owns a US$300 million stake in the micro-blogging website in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

The loss-making digital company launched a successful initial public offering (IPO) a few weeks ago in which it raised $1.82 billion by selling 70m of its shares.

Confidence in the company is high, shares surged 73 per cent on its trading debut, and its base of 230m subscribers is growing fast. But the pressure has now mounted heavily on Twitter to fine-tune its advertising streams.

Last month, The National wrote a story on Twitter experimenting with tailored tweets as a new form of advertising.

It has launched two accounts, Magic Recs and Event Parrot which analyse users’ tweets, interactions and retweets and based on this information, they provide direct messages tailored to users’ interests and habits.

Magic Recs has more than 30,000 users worldwide, while Event Parrot, which promotes events close to users, has about 350,000 users.

The algorithm of both needs some work. To date Magic Recs has only sent me messages letting me know that several people I follow have decided to follow another [popular] person. Event Parrot recently sent a message informing me that 3 people had been shot near Pittsburgh High School, USA. Upsetting news, but one that would be better suited to individuals living in the area or anti-gun campaigners.

For now, Twitter can continue to bask in its IPO glory, but its new year resolutions must focus on money while keeping its users happy and engaged.