Today brought two big announcements in the world of social media that may very well go unheralded until the near future.
First was Amazon’s announcement that it was partnering with Twitter to allow members of its Amazon Associates service to send out tweets of Amazon products complete with ad copy. Amazon gets increased exposure for its products and it splits the revenue from sales to its Associates members.
On the Google front the company has updated its Google Friend Connect service to include a short profile users can fill out. The service will then try to connect you with users who visit the same sites you do and recommend sites based on your interests.
These two developments could be where social networking is heading in terms of revenue models. Ads and ad revenue are heavily tied into both of these services which are playing catch up with Facebook’s wildly successful Facebook Connect feature.
In fact Connect is credited with having more than doubled Facebook’s audience in the year since it launched. Taking the social networking giant from 120 million worldwide users to 300 million and counting since its launch.
The main draw for marketers to these social networking sites is of course the wealth of demographic, ethnographic and geographic data that is shared voluntarily by its users. The amount of market research data that social network site users share in a day is staggering and these sites are finding new ways to tap into that data and use it to sell micro targeted ads.
Much like search ads, these new micro targeted ads stand to be much more effective than banner or pop up ads and could in fact become the most lucrative form of advertising in a very short time. By using their ‘Connect’ services users will be handing over even more information that marketers can then interpret and use to sell things.
The privacy implications of these services deserve a blog post in their own right but there is no denying that Facebook, Google and Twitter are positioning themselves to overtake mainstream media as the main providers of consumer data.
And the main targets of their ad budgets too.