Facebook and Twitter Shift to News Networks to Monetize
Major social networks such as Twitter and Facebook are transitioning to being news networks, with the sole purpose of monetizing via ads. This blog discusses how should marketers respond.
Twitter Changes Its Identity to a News Network
Last week, FastCompany and TechCrunch reported that Twitter has recently decided to categorize itself as a news app in the AppStore, versus a social networking app. This move – to brand oneself as a news or publishing network – has become a major trend among social media networks that has continued to gain momentum since 2015. It’s a result of the natural evolution of the way people have absorbed their news as traditional news sources, such as the newspaper and other print media, have continued to decline since the early 2000s.
Ad Saturation and a New Era of Publishing
According to Bloomberg, the American newspaper business’s industry revenue has fallen by more than a third since 2005, its best year, when sales reached $60.2 billion. Part of this fall has been due to a loss of advertising revenue, spurred by the way sites like BuzzFeed have drastically changed the advertising landscape, which has gone almost fully digital.
Seeking to increase advertisements, and therefore increase revenue, social networking sites have transitioned to become full-fledged publishing platforms that attract the attention of high profile advertisers, just as traditional newspapers used to do. What’s different about digital advertising, however, is that it is forced upon the user experience and has a rather invasive quality; continual pop-ups, forced scroll-overs, and making a reader wait to get to content is a less than ideal learning experience.
Where Does This Leave Marketers?
Because of the increase in advertising, these platforms have ramped up their pay-to-play feature. Marketers will need to spend even more money to remain engaged on public-social-networks-turned-news-networks with their audience on a continual basis. This will only continue to increase as more voices – and ads- clamor for audience attention.
Communities Are a Highly Attractive Engagement Platform
When it comes to public social networks, marketers will need to evaluate other platforms for engagement. Communities are a highly attractive platform because of one key thing: they are (or should be) advertisement free.
If you are providing valuable content in a format where users can access it without being bombarded with ads or constantly asked to take ‘the next step,’ users will be more inclined to read and engage with your content. The community is a valuable asset because it provides a one-time signup and then access to content and networking on the user’s own time and terms. Its purpose is to share knowledge, not ads.
Many companies have an internal or client community, and this provides a great model upon which to establish a guest or free-trial community. Use it as a depository for things such as whitepapers, and share blogs and other resources as conversation-starters to engage your users.
Public Social Networks (Twitter and Facebook) Are Unreliable
Public social networks were never entirely reliable for marketers because they don’t allow for complete control over content or data. As public social networks such as Twitter and Facebook continue to evolve, causing advertising costs to soar, marketers will need to seek out other platforms to engage with their users. Communities are a great option because they foster knowledge sharing, thereby improving the user experience and also helping them to become more educated about what you can offer them.
This is exactly what we do in the Aragon Research Guest Network, a community that offers guest users the opportunity to interact with our analysts and access over forty free research notes for a period of 90 days. Joining is easy – we invite you to test it out!