Why You Should Use Twitter Widgets

Twitter widget setup

Twitter widget setup

It should come as no surprise that Twitter is interested in making money.  They have taken $1.16BN in funding since inception (2006) and, while estimates vary greatly, conservative figures place them at ~$300M in revenue for 2012.  As their revenue growth is primarily driven by advertising dollars (insert snarkycomment about Google being a one trick pony here), Twitter has made some changes to their platform recently that will help to ensure the business model has a chance at success. For example, towards the beginning of 2012 Twitter asked third party developers to stop making consumer-facing client apps for the desktop and mobile OS market.  Or to use their words directly, developers should not “build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience.”  Instead, they encouraged developers to add value by extending the use of Twitter, not by replicating features already offered.  To follow up on this, Twitter has recently placed a rate limit on their API calls that effectively ensures third party consumer clients will no longer be developed.  That's just one example of how Twitter is tidying up their platform as there are severalothers.  And lest we forgot that anyone operating in the quadrant of death has been put on notice by Twitter.  I believe these moves are all primarily driven by the idea that Twitter can only monetize what they directly control.  But that's a post for another day.

The lesson to be learned as marketers is that Twitter is interested in greater control of how tweets and related media are displayed (so that all opportunities for monetization exist).  That's where we need to pay attention as users of the platform.  Do you have embedded tweets on your website?  Do you use Twitter as a source for syndication efforts (daily email newsletters and the like)?  If so you may have used a piece of code written by a third party as, up until recently, there were not many options from Twitter directly for doing this (well, plenty of options but nothing that was cut/paste for the average website manager).  As Twitter continues to evolve their platform it’s a good to idea to start using the tools they now provide directly to push tweets and syndicated Twitter content out across your sphere of influence online.

The primary benefit of using the tools provided directly by Twitter is that any changes they make to how information is displayed (as their card systemmatures) will likely cause little or no need for modifications on your end.  Spend the 5-10 minutes it will take today to future proof your publishing empire online using Twitter’s widget tools.