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Published March 22nd 2016

Industry Opinion: As Twitter Turns 10, Here’s How I’d Monetize It

A gif library is great, but it's not going to make millions. M&C Saatchi's Chris Owen's been thinking about how he'd monetise Twitter, as it turns 10

Monetization issues refuse to leave Twitter alone.

As user numbers recently appeared to plateau, and additional functionalities fail to set the world alight, the question of how to turn one of the most popular social platforms into a money-making business continues to be a thorn in its side.

But is there an obvious – if extreme – answer?

Now, I’ll be honest, I’m biased. I love Twitter.

I think it’s one of the most creative, thought provoking, brain poking platforms out there – as discussed in a previous article. I don’t want it to die – because how else would I find out about humans being the only animals with chins, and no-one knowing why?

And of course, everyone loves a GIF library. Let’s be real, Twitter changed marketing.

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 11.46.07

So while these discussions about its future have abounded, I’ve been pondering.

I think I’ve got it. A means to make money out of Twitter, whilst also getting rid of the nastier elements. It’s simple, really.

Charge for it. 

Great expectations

One issue with great products brought to market for free is that users expect the world, and they expect it without charge.

It’s part of why I think we’re a slightly greedy, expectant and demanding customer base today – we’re in danger of turning into a society full of Veruca Salts.


Charging for it, be it a small monthly figure – look, I’d pay a few dollars, but then I’m an avid user – maybe there would be a similar low entry price point, or an annual sub, and you have an immediate cash injection.

Sure, a few eggs might get lost along the way, but most of these are inert or trolling.

Speaking of which, putting a cash barrier in the way of harassment immediately makes it much easier to manage the whack-a-mole effect of troll hunting.

Instead of simply having one account shut down and starting another immediately, trolls would have to pay – it wouldn’t stop it entirely, but it’s sure to put a few off.


Plus, if users are blacklisted then this could stop repeated trolling accounts being set up.

Corporate wise, accounts could be charged at a premium – it might make brands think more about their behavior and how much energy they put in.

It might be better to spend money engaging with users and making customer support accounts stronger and more accountable, rather than pouring more money into advertising.


Look, I know it’s simpler to say than put into effect, and I’m expecting a barrage of ‘this is nonsense’ responses to this suggestion, but there must be something Twitter can do to monetize itself.

Put some value into the experience, and drive some loyalty within communities and users which really enjoy it.

They’ll make more money from charging than they ever will from a GIF library.

Chris is a regular contributor to the Brandwatch Blog. Find out more about M&C Saatchi by clicking here.


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