Twitter is sitting on a goldmine

March 8, 2009

So I’ve been doing the twitter stuff for a while and I’ve been liking it, but it doesn’t really scale up by the orders of magnitude I’d like.  It brings in dozens of clicks a day, but I want thousands.

(Incidentally, I finally filtered out all the Twitter bots — conversion is still incredibly high.  The technique works amazingly well.)

Naturally, for those thousands of clicks a day I’d go to AdWords.  I know I can’t afford that, but I’m curious what it would cost.  So I set up a series of keywords and set a small test ad budget, with the thought that I’d instantly be flooded with clicks and my ad budget depleted within minutes, but at least I’d get the data I need.

Days pass, and not a single ad was shown.  I check everything, add some more keywords, verify my billing is set up, remove my $2.00/click maximum, and try again.  Still nothing.

I’m thinking WTF.  So I dig around a bit more and find this keyword estimator and I find some really surprising results:

Even if I threw unlimited money at the problem, I would only get between 86-111 clicks a day, at a cost of $230-380/day.  That’s $2.67 – $3.42 per click on average, and still it’s such an insignificant flow of users it’s not even worth the effort.

In other words, the technique I’m using with Twitter not only converts far better than AdWords, it does it way cheaper and is in fact *easier* to use.

And on top of all that, let me throw another datapoint at those readers who are concerned that my Twitter technique is spam: we get about 4x more “thanks for the link!” responses than we do complaints.  And given the general addage that people are 10x more likely to complain than thank you, that means between 4-40x more people are actually appreciative of our contact than upset.

Given that you can’t please everyone, pleasing 40x more people than you upset is about as good as you can do.

The upshot is this: Twitter is sitting on a massive goldmine.  Indeed, my data suggests that Tweets are far more monetizable than searches, and users will actually thank you for it.

Will that scale?  Unknown.  We adhere zealously to the Twitter Promotion Code of Conduct I outlined earlier, and I imagine there will be a flood of people who aren’t so kind who will in all probability ruin it for the rest of us.

Until then, there’s gold in them thar’ hills, so go on out and grab it!

David Barrett
Twitter: @quinthar

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