It is no secret that Twitter is viewed as both marketing secret weapon and marketing bust. As a social networking tool, it has promise but what about Twitter as tool for increasing your business?
With the recent news announcements that Twitter is worth in excess of $1 billion amidst rumors of potential takeover and flotation deals, let’s take a look at why Twitter may not be worth the dime your company is looking to pay for increased web sales and exposure.
The internet and e-business is accepted as being a great way of doing business – costs are cut, geographical boundaries are overcome, new routes to market are uncovered and smaller companies are provided with fewer barriers to entry and get to compete with much larger companies on a level playing field.
BUT…there has to be a but!
The decisions you make when it comes to mounting marketing campaigns and establishing connections with customers and prospects, the established principals of offline, real-world marketing still apply.
So is using Twitter the most effective use of your company’s marketing dime?
TV Dominates the Internet in Ad Spend
Traditional, “old” media still represent better value for money when it comes to turning marketing dollars into solid sales numbers. This may seem out of sync with our perception of the internet – the internet dominates the news, it is cutting edge and at the forefront of developing new markets and ways of doing business but let’s take a hard look at the underlying numbers.
The average American adult spends almost 121 hours a month watching television but internet usage is dwarfed, coming in at only 30 hours a week. Given that the average adult is only going to spend a fraction of that 30 hours using Twitter, if at all, it is clear that spending your marketing budget on Twitter will be nowhere near as effective as investing in TV airtime.
Search Engines Dominate the Internet and Twitter is NOT a Search Engine
Search engines dominate how users find products and services and any other information on the worldwide web. Internet ad spend is concentrated upon search engine marketing and gaining rankings for their respective web sites in order to drive increased traffic which can be converted into sales.
Twitter is not a search engine – it is a real time communication tool with limited functionality.
Twitter has long been an outsider that has gained a following because of its quirkiness, but the platform has long suffered from service issues and up-time reliability (Hello, Fail Whale!). In other words, users have fallen in love with it but it doesn’t always work!
Controlling Social Media Campaigns is Like Herding Cats
Twitter forms one of the main platforms for Social Media – online interactions and information sharing form the currency of these platforms but introducing your marketing and sales material is similar to gatecrashing someone else’s party! The idea that monetizing all those eyeballs using social media and Twitter is based on nothing concrete –which is why there is so much furor over the $1 billion price tag – there is no proven marketing model so how can Twitter attract your ad spend to begin with (which in turn is the basis for the company valuation). The graph above is from compete.com and shows the obvious flatline on twitter. What happens when the inevitable decline begins as users tire of the limited interaction and businesses divert ad spend elsewhere?
The Twitter Bounce Rate is >90%
In simple terms – the bounce rate is how many messages or emails are returned unread.
If 90% of Twitter users are “bouncing” mail and messages, less than 1 in 10 are valid or open to receiving messages – this makes merging and purging your mailing lists look like an exercise in gold mining – just imagine if you had 9 out of 10 direct mail pieces returned to your company!
We’ve already mentioned that Twitter attracts the quirky and the social environment is extremely quirky and subject to cult and herd-like mentalities. It is easy to be tagged as a “spammer” if you are simply posting messages which are effectively only, “Look at Me!” Twitter spam is a real problem as the medium is deluged with online marketers – just look at many of the companies which are active on Twitter – generally they are selling health and vitamins, sex or get rich quick schemes, and frequently all three!
We may be playing the devil’s advocate here and Twitter is an easy target, but there are often good and valid reasons for being an easy target. Will Twitter ever become a useful tool or will it just be something to pass the time for 140 characters? What do you think?
Of course, if you are Alyssa Milano, forget everything I said.
And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter. 😉
Thanks to GraphJams.com