A budding relationship between Google & Twitter has been confirmed in recent weeks, and much ambiguity still exists surrounding how things will pan out. The partnership will integrate real-time Twitter tweets into Google search results beginning in the early part of this year. Twitter will gain a significant increase in exposure, reaching an even larger audience than top competitor Facebook, in order to stimulate the company’s slump in user acquisition. Google will benefit from real-time news, snippets of consumer thoughts, and zeitgeist conversations, which most likely will be used to “monetize AdWord inventory against real-time cultural or consumer needs.” This relationship is undoubtedly a good play for the two tech giants, but how will it affect publishers?
As one of the foremost players and providers of content on the Twitter scene, publishers must pay heed to a move like this one. Twitter has become the preferred social media platform for news & media organizations because of its real-time, first-to-press quality. The most active publisher on the site last month, BBC, broke records posting 4.5 million tweets. The rest of the top ten publishers, including The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and The Guardian, each posted more than a million tweets in January. It’s clear that Twitter is an integral part of many news organizations’ social media strategy. With tweets soon becoming available in Google search results, publishers must consider whether this will lead to positive or negative results. Let’s weigh out the good and the bad (luckily didn’t find any ugly)…
- There are 4 billion searches each day on Google, ranging from “how to boil an egg” to “Bob Simon’s death”. As publishers’ tweets are integrated into Google search results, it will undoubtedly increase exposure of their content. Not only will news organizations benefit from an increase in exposure, it will be targeted for the real-time topics and current events that they cover. Serving this relevant content to a person’s search will help publisher’s build brand awareness and viewership.
- Twitter provides news & media organizations with a platform that best serves their fast-changing content. Those publishers who have fully embraced, mastered and established themselves on the social media channel will profit the most from the Google-Twitter bond. Their patterns of abundant activity will pay off by reaching a much larger audience.
- There are several tools that Twitter recently launched, and they appear to be designed with publishers in mind. Twitter timeline helps new users discover accounts by suggesting pages based on the interests of their friends. As Twitter gains more users due to the Google partnership, publishers should gain more followers as their page is referred to new members on the platform. Another feature media organizations will benefit from is the new native platform to upload 30-second videos. The video platform is another step to help publishers provide more engaging content. By further developing their Twitter strategy, publishers will benefit from these tools and will see an increase in traffic directed from Google to strengthen their brand and online presence.
- Financial details of the agreement are yet to be published, but it appears that the deal may have Google paying licensing fees to Twitter for its content. What’s the problem for publishers? There have been major issues, and even lawsuits, due to publishers anger with Google for using their excerpts in search results with no compensation. Google News has even been turned off in certain countries, including Spain, because of laws passed requiring Google to pay for content that’s indexed in results. These efforts by publishers have not prevailed. So if Google pays Twitter to license its content, shouldn’t publishers also be paid for the content they’re providing? If these terms prove to be true, it will likely stir some backlash among the publishing community.
The Verdict: If publishers can bite the bullet knowing that they may be missing out on a piece of the money pie with the Google-Twitter deal, they will experience an overall positive impact on business. News & media organizations who make a concerted effort to build up their Twitter presence and improve content will benefit most from the partnership. Twitter will play an increasingly large role in search marketing, so those who establish themselves as leaders on Twitter will also be able to declare themselves as leaders in the general publishing world. So go ahead, get tweetin’.