There is no reason why the executives at Facebook and Twitter couldn’t offer ad revenue share to their users in much the same way that Google offers AdSense revenue share to their users — and not only corporate and elite members but to everyone who opts in and is willing to sign up and jump through whatever hoops.
On March 14th, Liz Mannebach asked me via Twitter, ‘Great piece. Other than Snap & YT, are there any smaller social platforms that you see as “pulling their weight” in revenue?’ in response to last week’s post, The Implications for PR if Twitter Goes Away:
@chrisabraham Great piece. Other than Snap & YT, are there any smaller social platforms that you see as “pulling their weight” in revenue?
— Liz Mannebach (@lizmbach) March 14, 2017
And my response was:
@lizmbach I think that’s a huge missing piece: revenue share! What an incentive that would be on FB and Twitter, right? YT was so smart.
— Chris Abraham (@chrisabraham) March 14, 2017
I live my life in a world surrounded by affiliate marketers, YouTubers, digital online advertisers, and highly-compensated brand ambassadors — all of whom are trying to make a buck: to fuel their creativity, to bank their next project, to help them make rent, and to buy them some beers. I, myself, have only gone so far as to make beer money on all of my 959 videos from all of my 3,491 subscribers. People have even taken to Patreon, “an internet-based platform that allows content creators to build their own subscription content service,” in order to offer value-based content that can be customized and optimized for what their friends and fans really want.
YouTube offers it and SnapChat offers a version of it — but every single nanosecond that you and I spend on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, is for love, God, country and, for us in the social media marketing business, brand. Unless I am making social media money from outside clients, gigs, and jobs, social media outside of SnapChat and YouTube is an act of love, a hobby, an expense of time towards the building of personal or corporate brand — but that is still a cost. It’s an opportunity cost.
Currently, the only way to drive revenue via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook is to attract a sponsor or shamelessly drop affiliate links into my rivers of news, hoping that my friends and followers have the patience and tolerance to suffer my passive-aggressive (or just aggressive and beggarly as in, “please indulge me and click on my links and buy my recommendations through these links to please help support all the content that I provide you on a daily basis,” which can surely work if done as openly and transparently and sincerely as possible).
That doesn’t change the fact that Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey and even Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn would be really smart if they considered offering an ad revenue share to its membership. It could be a pilot program for brands and celebrities, yes, but it should be available to everyone in the model of AdSense. While I only make a pittance of ~$ 8.91-a-month, I also haven’t put any energy into developing my YouTube channel. I know for a fact that even the opportunity for partner revenue exists can motivate YouTube content developers to spend all the (extra) time in the world pursuing their dreams of becoming a filmmaker, a celebrity, a brand, or an actor.
It wouldn’t be technically difficult at all to offer revenue share in the same method that Google AdSense does routinely and most every company does through affiliate platforms like Conversant (formerly CJ or Commission Junction). Doing so would differentiate the company so to do in a world where the only real incentive is attention, inclusion, play, and information. The added incentive of making even ten-dollars-a-month would psychologically drive users and the aspirational to amazing lengths to create content so engaging and so compelling that they could, possibly, if their content caught national attention, come into a mini-lottery windfall.
Right now, the only real feedback for doing things right is your Klout Score, which really hasn’t meant much since 2009. Amazon Associates and Google AdSense make almost no one any money. A couple thousand people worldwide buy Lamborghinis with their royalties and ad revenue but most of us buy beer. At the end of the day, it’s more psychological than financial.
Either way, it would be something new, something that would fuel conversation and attention, and adding general audience revenue share to a social networking service like Facebook or Twitter would be enough differentiation that it might fuel the success of these aging social networks for another decade.
What do you think? Please be sure to tell me in the comments. Thanks for reading!Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community