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 which as the name suggests is a website where people can find coupons for laptops and other electronic gadgets.  The one started by 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 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


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


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 had a big spike and rose up 19700%! The pictures and the numbers speak for themselves.


Using Paid Tweets? – Nah!

If the advertiser had decided to use a paid to tweet service like or, 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 ( or 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.


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.


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 , 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.
  • 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?

Tagged with:  

Building your online reputation

On September 10, 2009, in Internet, by Ramanujam

It is really important to have an online identity because the first thing which a prospective employer or a customer or a business acquaintance is going to do is to perform a Google search for your name. You don’t want to have some of your drunken pictures or bad comments showing up when your name is searched for. We should always remember that everything we do online is getting documented in some way or the other and also the information is available openly for everyone to see. There are some simple steps which will help to boost your personal reputation in the internet world.


Image Credit: Geek and Poke

1. Create your blog or homepage
It is always good to have a personal blog or a homepage where people can find information about you. Getting a domain name with your first and/or last name in it is really a good practice and it will feed some nice value to the search engines. Having relevant keywords in the domain name is one of the common strategies which search engine optimizers follow. In most cases it might not be possible to get a domain name which is same as your name. In such cases try alternative domain extensions or domain hacking. If you are blogging under a brand name make sure that your full name is prominently visible in the about section and in all other places possible (Eg: Posted by John Kramer). If you are a student, putting up your resume and contact information on the homepage is a good practice.

2. Social media profiles
Creating profiles on the prominent social networks will definitely boost your online presence. One important thing to keep in mind while creating profiles in social media sites like Twitter, Delicious, Digg etc is to have a consistent user name. Like in the previous case, it is good to have your first name/last name combination as your user name rather than having something like zombieking or techieboy. Just creating the profile and leaving it deserted is of no use. There are many cases where people have found their prospective employers via social media channels and it is always good to be participative. Creating a professional profile on LinkedIn and furnishing the right details will be of good help to explore a lot of opportunities and get new professional contacts.

3. Think before your post
Every status update which you post on Twitter or every comment which you write on your friend’s face book wall is getting archived. It is always good to think for a second before your post. Swearing is one thing which most of us are good at but keeping it off the online world is a big ‘to-do’ if you are looking to have a positive reputation. Bitching about your current or past employer is a big no and so is foul mouthing about products or services in public space. Being careful and choosy about your online contacts is a plus and it is also good to look before you follow.

4. No drunken pictures
A recent study by revealed that 45% of employers looked at social profiles of the candidates whom they were looking to hire. Drunken photos, reference to drug usage, swearing are some of the reasons why candidates were denied. The good lesson which we can learn from this study is to keep our Facebook profile clean and untag all the drunken pictures posted by friends.

Track who is talking about you. Some of the methods to do this are to check your @replies on twitter and set up Google alerts for your name. Although this is more important for brands, it works out well for individuals too.

6. Google Yourself
Google yourself or Ego surf and see if things look fine when your name is searched for. Although nothing much can be done for the existing results, doing the steps listed above in the right way may change the results in your favor over a period of time.

Tagged with: