The social media giants have always struggled to convince users to do anything on their platforms that doesn’t involve their core social functions. In particular, Facebook has struggled for a long time to get people to take their ads seriously, mainly because when people log into Facebook, they are not looking to book a holiday or buy a DVD; they just want to discuss and share information. By integrating ads into the “news stream”, they have had more success, but even this has had to be continually changed and updated over time.
So now Twitter, with its long-standing inability to turn a profit still intact, is looking at alternative ways to bring in more revenue and, hopefully, start making a profit. Although nothing has been conformed, the latest information suggests that Twitter is finally inching closer to bringing in some kind of ecommerce integration. According to tech website re/code, Twitter is nearing the completion of a deal with payments startup called Stripe, enabling it to take credit/debit card transactions. Quite what form this integration would take is anyone’s guess, and Twitter is being understandably quiet on the matter.
One possibility is that companies could list products directly on Twitter, which users could then pay for without having to leave the service. Currently, many ecommerce companies tweet links to their products, and it wouldn’t be a particularly big jump for them to offer the products directly via Twitter. Yes, they’d effectively be cutting their own websites out of the equation, but in exchange for this they’d be offering their products to a potentially much wider audience: a similar principle to the hugely successful Amazon Marketplace.
Whatever the final outcome, it’s clear that Twitter is continuing its search for additional revenue streams and must at some point start turning a profit, especially since its IPO late last year.