I don’t sell advertising on this site, but I’m not above advertising this site elsewhere. To that end, I took the time to run a quick experiment using Twitter’s new “Sponsored Tweets” functionality.
I’m less than impressed with the results.
I wrote an article yesterday that I wanted to drive some additional traffic towards. Since most of my traffic comes from Twitter, and the demographic that frequents Twitter is also one that tends to be interested in my topic of choice, I figured Sponsored Tweets would be an interesting way to attract that traffic.
I built the campaign around a Tweet I’d made earlier in the day:
A world where access to information is tightly controlled is one in which democracy, free thought, and liberty dies. http://t.co/lSipPr5D9i
— Eric Mann (@EricMann) September 16, 2014
This presented me with a potential audience of 2 million Twitter users.
I set a reasonable budget for the campaign (no more than $50 per day), but was completely shocked by the suggested bid for sponsoring a Tweet – Twitter suggested $1.50-$2.50 per engagement for my ad.
This seemed a bit ridiculous, but I bit because I wanted to test the platform.
The traffic impact on my site during yesterday’s experiment was … minimal.
The campaign created a total of 4,809 “impressions” of my ad – the number of time my sponsored Tweet appeared in others’ timelines. Unfortunately, those impressions only resulted in 45 total “engagements” with my content.
An engagement is:
- A link click (44)
- A re-tweet
- A reply
- A new follower (1)
With only 45 engagements, my conversion rate was only 0.94%. Consider a 1% conversion is considered “good” by many, this seems to be a quality campaign. Except for a couple of tiny details:
My blog averages 10 times this amount of traffic. Over the same time period. For free. 3
I also forgot that, like me, many people in my target demographic also hate ads.
I've taken to blocking any account that puts a sponsored tweet in my timeline. No idea if it's effective, but it sure makes me feel better.
— Doug Stewart (@zamoose) September 16, 2014
Consider this, I paid more than some pay in a month for hosting, to gain fewer visitors than I gain in a day for free, and accidentally alienated influential members of my target demographic in the process.
I won’t be using Sponsored Tweets any time soon …
- This wasn’t my requirement, I wanted a much more general filter but Twitter required me to pick a language. Since the article was in English, I went with English. ↩
- Again, not my choice – Twitter required me to pick a region. ↩
- I paid a total of $30.56 for my 45 visitors. That’s $0.68 each … I’ll stick with the free traffic. ↩