Twitter feeds to make £11bn a year for search giants

Google and Microsoft could make $30 million a day from selling ads pointing to our tweets and Facebook updates, according to researchers from Penn State University.

Twitter feeds to make £11bn a year for search giants

The researchers set out to examine the value of real-time updates, and found that ads displayed alongside the bite-sized, up-to-the-minute data could be worth nearly $11 billion a year.

“Real-time content is particularly interesting because it’s a window into a person’s world at a particular moment in time,” Jim Jansen, associate professor, information sciences and technology. “What we wanted to determine was whether real-time search could be monetised.”

In a bid to put a value on our ramblings, Jansen examined six months’ worth of real-time search queries, valuing the search terms by using the Google Adwords Traffic Estimator, with more commonly used words worth more.

“The idea behind this was to see if these real-time searches were performed on any given day on Google, what would that traffic be worth,” Jansen said.

The study looked at more than a million searches and established only 300,000 were truly unique, but that more than half of those had an economic value.

According to Jansen, if the searches were presented on a Google results page, people would click the resulting ads more than 6.4 million times a day and generate approximately $33,023,320 in revenue from those clicks.

Ready market

The revenue stream is very real given the fact Bing and Google both include real-time result via their engines.

“Both the major search engines and new search firms are entering the marketplace providing technologies for searching real-time content,” Jansen said. “The question is, how much is this search traffic worth? To date, there had been no published economic valuation of this search traffic.”

The market was also expected to grow significantly as Twitter became more popular, with Jansen saying the number of Twitter updates had increased 1,000% over the last year.

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