Twitter wallpaper as ad space

The wallpaper section of the People StyleWatch Twitter page now includes an advertisement. Photo/Twitter

As the media world revolves more and more around a digital axis, newspaper executives are constantly trying to find ways to monetize online profiles.

This week, Advertising Age, a magazine about advertising and marketing, posted a short story to its website about an ad appearing on the Twitter profile of People StyleWatch, an off-shoot of People magazine.

As is increasingly the case, I was turned onto this bit of news through Twitter.  David Carr, a reporter for The New York times, linked to the AdAge story in his feed.

This example is the first I’ve heard of a company using its Twitter wallpaper area as ad space. As Nat Ives, the author of the AdAge piece, wrote, ” Media brands on Twitter typically use that area to promote themselves or nothing at all.”

It’s unclear just how much Time Inc., which owns People StyleWatch, is making off the ad, which features Jergens lotion. Ives wrote that a spokesperson said the ad is part of a multi-platform package with Jergens across print, web, and social media.

Most importantly, perhaps more news agencies may begin to use Twitter wallpaper space for outside advertising. Twitter, for its part, seems to be fine with users making money off their profile pages.

Ives wrote: “Twitter said its users are free to turn their profile pages into ad venues. ‘The space is the user’s to customize, and we encourage them to be clear if they are promoting something there, for money or other consideration,’ a spokesman said in an email.”

I would have guessed otherwise and expected Twitter to balk at the idea of another organization cashing in on their platform. But if that’s no hurdle, maybe other news organizations will look to monetize their Twitter accounts in this fashion.

Time Inc. is probably making only a very small sum off the Twitter wallpaper ad. By no means am I saying selling ad space on Twitter is a solution to the persistent problem most news agencies have of making money on the web.

But this development is yet another example  of just how dynamic Twitter can be for news organizations.

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