The Significance Of Tweet-A-Beer

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Mashable wrote about Tweet-A-Beer, an “online networking” app (ugh, just what we needed) that lets someone buy someone else a beer using Twitter. According to the article:

“Tweet-A-Beer uses Chirpify — an eCommerce platform that lets you buy, sell and donate money — to sync your Twitter account to your PayPal account. You can safely send beer money in $5 allotments.”

My take: This is the future of P2P payments. 

Last week, Bank Technology News ran an article titled P-to-P Gains Steam with Pulse’s Support, but Consumer Demand Appears Lacking which quoted an analyst from another analyst firm as saying, “P-to-P right now still lacks an audience.”

I published a blog post on this, The Problem With P2P Payments, calling BS on the notion that there’s no demand for P2P, and concluding that:

Migrating P2P transactions [from non-electronic forms of payment to electronic forms] — or, more realistically, some percentage of those transactions — is a marketing challenge the industry must address.

Tweet-A-Beer is a shining, foamy, hops-filled example of the marketing approach I was alluding to. There are two things, in particular, which make Tweet-A-Beer important:

1. It’s use-case specific. Use-case is an ugly term, so if you have a better one, let me know, I’d be happy to use it. But until now, the financial services industry has been pushing P2P as P2P. “Hey look! We have P2P capabilities on our website!” To which consumers reply “WTF is P2P?” My assertion is this: Marketing P2P services by headlining the purpose (the use-case) — for example, giving a gift, splitting a restaurant bill, etc. — is something that people can relate to, and, for a certain (and meaningful) percentage of consumers out there, will be willing to try a new form of payment to do.

2. It’s an app. To date, most (all?) FIs with a P2P offering provide that service through their online or mobile banking site — and solely through those sites. Which require logging in, navigating to the functionality, and so on. The app approach makes this simple and convenient (or at least simpler and more convenient). I don’t think a lot of FIs have quite got their heads around the apps concept just yet.

Based on the research that I’ve done at Aite Group on P2P payments, I can tell you that there are a lot of use-cases which offer huge potential for smart marketers to generate electronic P2P transaction volume. So far, however, the smart ones haven’t come from the ranks of financial institutions.

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