Social Media Site Twitter Starts New @earlybird Advertising

Twitter’s Latest Money Making Attempt

Twitter logo initial
Image via Wikipedia

The massively popular social media micro-blogging website Twitter ( began another attempt at making money yesterday, starting a feed called @earlybird.

“[@earlybird]…are special time-bound deals, sneak-peeks, and events that are promoted by the official Twitter @earlybird account.”

The idea is that advertisers will pay Twitter to put out an update that links to their product. Twitter states that most of the advertisers will be large international brands at first, advertising nation-wide (USA) deals. They plan to look into area-specific deals down the road.

Twitter also claims that their focus is on picking deals that users find valuable and interesting.

Will it work?

The deals that Twitter selects are going to be crucial to this model’s success. They need to pick some extremely buzz-worthy deals from the start and then keep them coming. If they put out a bunch of deals like $2 off coupons for dish detergent, I think the concept will fail.

I’m also not confident that sales resulting from the @earlybird tweets will be enough for big multinationals to keep coming back to buy more advertising. However, I could see this being a great way for mid- to big-size businesses to clear out leftover inventory or create an outrageous loss leader promotion to create publicity.

My gut says that Twitter will get a couple hundred thousand followers to the account quickly–mostly people who love Twitter, people interested in the medium wanting to see how/if it will work, and people genuinely interested in the deals. A few folks will actually buy.

Social Media using old profit models

This will be similar to television advertising: a national audience, no personalization, no localization, and only those tuning in will see the offer. The one difference is that friends have an easy way to tell you about an offer they saw that you might like by retweeting it (forwarding it on to their followers).

Part of me thinks this is akin to when banner ads first swept the Internet. Sites displaying advertising banners on their pages initially charged advertisers hundreds of dollars per thousand views (or sometimes clicks) of their ad, following the standard print fee model for newspapers and magazines. Over time advertisers and websites both discovered that banner ads didn’t work anything like print in terms of return on investment. Now you buy banner ad space priced for less than a penny per thousand views.

What’s this mean for your social media?

Unless you’re a large multi-national, this doesn’t mean much to you for now. I recommend following the development to see how well the model works and understand how it works, because if it does you’ll start seeing it all over the place.

For more information direct from the source, check out Twitter’s description at