Why Twitter’s Coupon Service is a Great Idea

Twitter users are already mobile and mobile users love coupons -- why not add coupons to the growing "mobile first" network?

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Twitter has always been a little off beat, at least when it comes to social networks. The character limit, the constantly updating feed and the attitude of its users can make for a quirky network. In that vein, Twitter has a quirky revenue idea to increase audience engagement and expand overall revenue generation: adding coupons to the service.

Coupons aren’t a game-changer, but there’s a little more to it than one might expect. According to the New York Times Bits Blog, “After buying a promoted tweet — a paid ad that appears as content inside a user’s Twitter stream — a marketer can insert a deal, such as a time-sensitive discount, which users can redeem on their smartphone.”

The service, dubbed “Twitter Offers,” is powered by Cardspring, which Twitter acquired in July. Cardspring is a service that links credit and debit cards with apps. The new coupons could be applied to a user’s card instantly, and then redeemed when they make a purchase later.

Much like Twitter’s other forays into revenue generation, this little idea is part of a larger plan. A coupon is a small thing, but if this initiative takes off, it proves that Twitter can drive users to make purchases after they’ve seen ads. If Twitter can leverage its growing user base by making the service more useful in the real world, it could generate a lot of revenue from strategic partnerships with businesses that advertise on the service.

Paired with location data, the service could offer users coupons at the time they are most likely to use them — like when they walk into a store that’s part of a partnership program, according to Nathan Hubbard, Twitter’s head of commerce.

We already know that mobile users love coupons and that Twitter’s user base is a fan of an ever-updating, always-relevant model, so this seems like a great move. If Twitter can continue to diversify its income, it could easily prove itself a great place for both businesses and consumers.