5 Reasons Twitter is Not Worth Your Dime or Time

Written on November 4, 2009 – 11:02 am | by bigoak |

funny-graphs-twitterIt 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

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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-com_uv_1y

Twitter's phenomenal growth has stalled recently. Why?

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%

song-chart-memes-things-twittered

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!

Twitter Spam

twitter-spam

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

  1. 15 Responses to “5 Reasons Twitter is Not Worth Your Dime or Time”

  2. By Eric Gehler on Nov 4, 2009 | Reply

    As technology advances, so do the forms of communication and the ability to reach the masses. The advertisement $ is still entrenched into TV media outlets but the percentage is slipping each year. Google is attempting to become a Broadcast media outlet to capture it’s percentage of that almighty advertisement budget.

    In tow Twitter has risen higher, farther and faster then Google since it’s inception comparing start point time lines. Comparing growth rates of both entities would be a “market watch” case.

    Who knows where Twitter will be in 2-3 years, but I for one would like to be along for the ride and explore the options.

    With any marketing efforts, if your campaign is geared successfully, the media outlet of Twitter can be used effectively by understanding of your market and base.

    Hard sales, and no personality will not go over in a the Twitter-verse. The ranked hard comic link in the article gave some real world excellent examples :)

    But still tweet me up! @bigebiz :)

  3. By EddieStarr on Nov 4, 2009 | Reply

    Obivously Twitter tech will evolve, ways to thwart TwitSpam will follow. I Tweet, and most likely it is about things that many others may not care about. Frankly, I use Twitter as a tool to archive my random bits and parts of my life. (Hopefully) 25 Years from now, I will be able to log Twitter and have a memory moment back to the moment I twote what I was twaying…. I have really enjoyed watching the Twitter Tornado Take Over the Internets. However, I predict the future to be full of other Internet Based Innovational Sites and Services.
    I would also not mind paying 1 penny for 10 tweets.

    Just a Thought…
    -EddieStarr

  4. By Twitter_Tips on Nov 4, 2009 | Reply

    I saw an elderly woman arguing with what was probably her granddaughter, who wanted buy her Grandmother a mobile phone. Grandma wasn’t having it:

    “I’m not one of those people walking the aisles in the store talking about my personal life for everyone to hear!”

    She didn’t want a mobile phone because she’d seen it used in ways that didn’t work for her.

    Twitter is the same. It’s a service that you can use however you like, and it’s part of a broad wave of how communication is changing.

    Email wasn’t widely adopted right away, but it became an essential communications and business tool. Twitter and similar sites are the same. It’s very, very easy to criticize Twitter usage and claims made for Twitter right now. That doesn’t mean you get to ignore it.

    Anyone who can’t see Social Networking sites like Twitter as part of a new wave of communication methodologies had better wake up.

  5. By Anthony Davis on Nov 4, 2009 | Reply

    I’ve had mixed feelings when it comes to Twitter as an advertising tool. I have tried to use it as an advertising tool to promote my family’s coffee shop & tea room here in southwest Virginia.
    http://www.stringbeancoffeeshop.com

    It did do some good cause it brought some traffic onto our site and even a few of my followers did come from their homes on the way to Tennessee or even when they were passing through the southwest part of Virginia.

    On the other hand though, people that I was just starting to know or people who really didn’t care they’re response was: “HE’S A SPAMMER!!!” I was even reported as spam by one girl cause she didn’t appreciate me advertising to her.

    So, in my opinion Twitter as an adverting tool is a double edged sword. Be prepared to get some good results but also expect to hear from a few people who will instantly say: “SPAM!!!!”

  6. By BWI on Nov 5, 2009 | Reply

    The first week I tried Twitter I gained a bunch of followers, made a sale from it, and wasted about 20 hours doing it. It was a complete waste of time for me. I kept giving it a solid try, but it never produced again. Most tweets don’t even get seen anyhow.

    Now with nearly 4,000 followers a simple tweet like “Help me out with this test! Reply just by saying HI”. I would get 3 or 4 that would respond.

    For a while I also did a weekly test every Monday surveying the last 100 tweets from their public timeline. It started with 22% of the tweets had links. I stopped tracking when I found 30% of them did.

    I think this is because many Twitter users get it…socializing through Twitter is worthless so they simply use it to link to their junk, and hope someone clicks.

    I should start a poll on my site or maybe you can start one here….

    Twitter users, do you actually read other peoples tweets? Yes, No, I used too

  7. By John on Nov 5, 2009 | Reply

    I’m always glad to know people are sharing the word about my sites or articles on Twitter, but that’s something you can benefit from without even necessarily being actively involved on the platform yourself.

    As far as directly trying to promote things, it seems like you first have to spend some serious time and effort into promoting your Twitter account! In a lot of ways, it still seems like a superfluous step in the marketing process, but it comes naturally for some types. I just can’t find the patience for it, and that’s probably because I’m not seeing proportionate returns..

  8. By Carol B. on Nov 8, 2009 | Reply

    You point out some really interesting views here. Recently I’ve been reading a lot about of blogs about how twitter could benefit your business…but you pointed it out just right:

    “Twitter is not a search engine – it is a real time communication tool with limited functionality”

    How about Facebook?

  9. By web designing on Nov 10, 2009 | Reply

    Hi these are very nice information about the twitter i am a big fan of it and found this information very useful for me!

    Thanks for sharing with me cheers!

  10. By dsi r4 on Nov 14, 2009 | Reply

    My favorite social media tool is Twitter, because it encourages brevity AND conversation, which is hard to find in one package. But there’s an art to using Twitter well, especially if you’re tweeting as the voice of a business or brand.

  11. By waimaoseo on Nov 25, 2009 | Reply

    I know where Twitter will be in 2-3 years, but I for one would like to be along for the ride and explore the options.
    It’s a service that you can use however you like, and it’s part of a broad wave of how communication is changing.

  12. By Pixelsmedia on Jan 6, 2010 | Reply

    I do agree with Eric. All of us know the powerful influence of internet so we can easily understand what sort of communication can be achieved through one of the most popular social media like twitter. Lots of targeted audience can be reached through this type of communication. Twitter is a platform where you can have that personal touch from where you can get answer for any question about anything direct from the horse’s mouth.And here lies the secret of success behind this social media site. This can be exploited as an useful advertising medium.

  13. By The Visible Dentist on Jan 14, 2010 | Reply

    My own experience of posting over 1600 “tweets” (with zero client acquisition for the effort), shows me that the only benefit of Twitter is to gain another notch in the SERPS for your name or brand.

    Instead of wasting your time and energy on Twitter, there are far better and more productive online (and offline) strategies to pursue.

    John Barremore
    Houston, TX

  14. By SEO Blog Post on Feb 5, 2010 | Reply

    These are some of the funniest graphs ever. You should put an inspirational quote under them, print them, and sell t-shirts.

  15. By SEO Services UK on Mar 1, 2010 | Reply

    You can get traffic from twitter no doubt about that but comparing it with search engine, i don’t think its any where near to that. Twitter required serious working and i think its useless to spend so much time on one social media site, rather its better to work for keywords positioning on SE.

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  2. Jan 25, 2010: A Twitter Fan’s Review of Plurk | BS Free Marketing

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