It looks like networks may have some new, unexpected inventory to sell: their Twitter feeds. The Associated Press and Samsung appear to have established a template this week, where a network could place ads atop their own pages as well as feeds for individual shows, which would seem to be more coveted by advertisers.
Who knows how much money really lies in it? But with questions about how to best monetize hundreds of thousands of followers, the AP-Samsung initiative offers a guide for experimentation.
The AP has sold the consumer electronics manufacturer sponsored tweets on its Twitter account this week, linked with the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where Samsung is looking to promote all kinds of would-be breakthrough hardware.
The deal reportedly cuts Twitter out of the revenue in that the Samsung dough goes right to the AP, which says the initiative is another attempt to find new ad models in mobile and social media.
The AP has more than 1.5 million followers. CNN has more than 7 million.
With shows in the entertainment space, NBC's "The Voice" has more than 1 million and AMC's "Walking Dead" has about the same. "American Idol" has 670,000.
General network feeds are fewer. NBC, for example, has 229,000 followers, while Fox has a similar 210,000. HBO doesn't sell advertising, but has 442,000.
It would seem the sponsors tied so closely with "The Voice" and "Idol" wouldn’t mind extending their involvement to the rapidly growing Twitter. The same goes for so many other series, where networks point viewers to the Twitter feeds looking to build engagement.
(The AP made clear its paid-for messages would be labeled as “sponsored tweets” and overseen by an entity beyond the news operations.)
Sponsored tweets aren’t the most dynamic ad opportunities. They appear at the top of a Twitter feed and allow for a logo and some text, but maybe more importantly the chance to offer a link to a more compelling locale.
As paidContent suggests, Twitter may move to close the loophole exploited by the AP, where it is cut out of the ad revenue. But that won’t be until after the Super Bowl. The NFL’s Twitter page has 4.2 million followers, so perhaps CBS can find a way to take advantage during its broadcast of the game.
However, it probably wouldn’t open space up for advertisers not in the big game. Memorably, last year, GM ran a spot in the game suggesting Ford trucks weren’t strong enough to survive some sort of Armageddon. Ford instantly sent out a promoted tweet saying: “We're satisfied with our 35 years of having the best selling truck in America.”