Now that every business be it large or small is on Twitter trying to promote their brand, the big question is are they getting any return for the time and money which they invest. Whenever we speak of a successful Twitter or social media marketing story we point to Dell, Ford, Zappos or a similar big name brand. These companies have dedicated teams which take care of the social media marketing services and and no wonder they reap the benefits. Moreover it is not such a big deal for an established brand like Dell or Ford to get the message sent across the table.

Every day our twitter timeline gets spammed filled with several messages similar to the ones below.
“I just entered to win a Macbook pro. Simply RT to participate < some random link>”
“XYZ is giving away free passes to that dumb event, Check out how to get one for you <some random link>”

I have always wondered how successful are these campaigns and how well they provide a return to the people/companies who start these on Twitter. I explored one such recent campaign conducted by CyberMonday.fm which as the name suggests is a website where people can find coupons for laptops and other electronic gadgets.  The one started by CyberModay.fm was nothing new. They gave away a Macbook Pro to one random person who posted a pre-written tweet like the one above on their profile. Sounds fair! It is like entering a raffle where in instead of buying a raffle ticket you just post a tweet. So do you think CyberMonday.fm got their money’s worth doing this? Let’s see!

The Math Part

  • Total Money spent for the campaign : $1199

(The winner was provided a $1,199.00 gift certificate to the Apple store in lieu of a Mac Book Pro.)

  • Total number of Retweets : 63000 + (via Topsy.com)

topsy

  • Total number of clicks: 286,000 + (via bit.ly public stats)

cybermonday1

One good measure for internet campaigns is CPC or the Cost Per Click. It might not be totally applicable to a Twitter marketing campaign but it is definitely one good measure to look into.

CPC = Cost /Clicks
For this campaign
CPC = 1199/286000 = ~$0.004

$0.0004 is an extremely good CPC for any internet marketing campaign. Comparing it with Google Adwords, the minimum cost which an advertiser has to pay to obtain one click is ten cents ($0.10). Imagine how much money the advertiser would have spent if he had to get 286,000 clicks on Google and that too a major part of it on a single day. I know i am comparing apples and oranges here but this comparison was just to give a rough idea.

No wonder that the alexa graph of CyberMonday.fm had a big spike and rose up 19700%! The pictures and the numbers speak for themselves.

cybermonday_alexa

Using Paid Tweets? – Nah!

If the advertiser had decided to use a paid to tweet service like ad.ly or Sponsoredtweets.com, do you think they would have obtained similar returns? Definitely not!

For a budget of $1200 it would be possible to get less than 3 tweets from a web celebrity like Shoemoney or JohnChow. One other option is to get 1200 tweets from low profile tweeters paying them $1 a tweet. We should also not forget that the company in between (ad.ly or sponsoredtweets.com) takes a 50% cut for providing the service. Looking at a recent ad posted by Shoemoney, it gives a really bad impression.

Here is a paid tweet which was posted by Shoemoney. He charges somewhere north of $1000 for making a single tweet.

shoemoney1

Here is the outcome. If the advertiser had paid $500 for this tweet the CPC is more than $1.This might be the worst case though. A recent screenshot in one of his blog posts revealed that one such paid tweet sent more than 8000 clicks.

shoemoney2-1

Some Takeaways

  • CPC is definitely not a good metric for Twitter marketing campaigns but i thought it would be a good measure for this case study
  • Traffic does matter but what matters more is the number of conversions that the campaign yields. For example if the Commission BluePrint advertiser who paid Shoemoney had enough subscriptions or purchases then it is well and good. Integrating a conversion tracker and measuring it will definitely tell more about the success or failure of the campaign.
  • For CyberMonday.fm , they had to show the best deals to people and make them purchase it from a third party site like BestBuy, Dell etc who in turn will pay a % commission for making the sale. Obviously a huge traffic burst would have done the trick for them.
  • Cybermonday.fm is not a household name and i bet 9 out of 10 people would not have heard about them before this campaign. One thing to note is how a relatively unknown brand can pull up a successful campaign on Twitter.
  • More than conversions, sales, traffic one other factor which many of the advertisers look for is brand exposure. A single tweet from a celebrity will definitely send the message far and wide.

There is no doubt that more and more businesses are going to use Twitter to promote their products and the amount of spam is going to increase drastically. One other thing to note is every one else except Twitter are making money in this process! How is Twiiter going to make money?

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