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Jun 25, 2009

Twitter sending traffic to online media sites, but not online retailers

  • Huge growth for Twitter in UK to match USA growth. Easy mobile access adds to Twitter's mindshare.
  • Growing source of traffic for media sites - but legacy media/blogs has been slow to adapt (In contrast, with our top pagerank at Google and thousands of subscribers, Twitter has become the #1 source of traffic for this blog.)
  • Emerging source for commerce. (Tearn Media has already succeeded to turn Twitter followings to dollars retail. Optimization will lead to ROI surpassing legacy marketing.)
UK Internet traffic to Twitter, the “micro-blogging” service and social network, has increased 22-fold over the last 12 months. During May 2009 www.twitter.com ranked as the 38th most visited website in the UK and the fifth most visited social network. Just one year ago, in May 2008, it was the 969th most visited website and 84th most visited social network.


Twitter has been the fastest growing major website in the UK over the last 12 months, and certainly the most talked about. The noticeable thing about Twitter’s growth is that the vast majority of it – 93% in fact – has occurred during 2009. If anything, the service is even more popular than our numbers imply, as we are only measuring traffic to the main Twitter website. If people accessing their Twitter accounts via mobile phones and third party applications (such as Twitterific, Twitterfeed and Tweetdeck) were included, the numbers could be even higher.

One consequence of its phenomenal growth is that Twitter has become a key source of traffic to other websites. During May 2009 Twitter was the 30th biggest source of traffic for other sites in the UK, accounting for 1 in every 350 visits to a typical website. Over half of this traffic (55.9%) is sent to other content-driven online media sites, such as social networks, blogs, and news and entertainment websites. However, only 9.5% of Twitter’s downstream traffic is sent to transactional websites (i.e. travel, business and finance sites, plus online retailers). By contrast, Google UK (the country’s biggest search engine and source of traffic to other websites) sends 30.7% of its traffic to transactional sites, while for Facebook (the UK’s most popular social network), the figure is 14.7%.


Twitter has proven to be a fantastic source of traffic for content driven sites, and the media companies with a strong presence on the service are using it to great effect. However, with one or two exceptions (most notably Dell, which claims to generated $3m via Twitter), very few transactional websites have yet used Twitter to drive sales. During May, Google UK sent 365 times more traffic to transactional websites than Twitter. Given that Twitter has yet to settle on a business model that will take advantage of its huge, loyal user base, this is an issue that needs to be addressed by the people that run the company if they are to make the service a financial as well as popular success...

Smaller blogs and technology sites were amongst the first to benefit from Twitter, but mainstream media websites in the UK were quick to follow their lead. Twitter was the 27th biggest source of traffic to News and Media – Print websites in the UK during May, and all of the main newspaper websites now have multiple Twitter feeds.

The key to having a successful Twitter presence is to engage the community. Twitter is a great viral marketing channel, and for many users the aim is to have their story ‘retweeted’ – i.e. passed on by other users – as many times as possible. Although all of the newspapers have multiple ‘official’ feeds, these tend to be bland and have very low ‘retweet’ rates. Where journalists themselves are ‘tweeting’ themselves and engaging with the Twitter community, they typically have more success in creating viral stories.

Jun 22, 2009

5 Rules for Advertising on Twitter

Can you buy a tweet as an ad on Twitter? Yes.

Can you sell a tweet as an ad on Twitter? Yes, but...

Here's some background to guide your decisions.

Rules for Sellers

With high jobless rates, millions are eager to make money from Twitter; or justify the time spent on Twitter to gain followers. Since Twitter is seemingly simple, millions are incentivized to try. But...
  1. Do you have 50,000 followers? Or at least 20,000? Advertisers have no interest to buy a smaller audience.
  2. Can you tweet frequently enough to give advertisers the impressions that they need?
  3. Can you deliver enough clicks to beat AdWords? Does the rate you charge beat Adwords' average of $0.50 per click?
  4. Assuming that you can deliver 100 clicks per day for an ad buyer, who will sell the ads? How much will it cost to sell the ads?
  5. At $50 per day, does this revenue cover your selling cost and tweeting time?
Like any media, building the circulation, selling ads, and distributing tweets is a fulltime job. Do you have the will, skills, and tenacity?

Why Buy Ads on Twitter

Why would marketers buy tweets as ads on Twitter?

Twitter is the first comprehensive marketing tool that allows a marketer to track the entire marketing funnel. (ed: You read this first, here. No doubt, other blogs and journalists will copy and fail to attribute the source. Sad ;-)
  • Gain suspects as followers
  • Call to action through clicks on tweets
  • Digital word-of-mouth through satisfied customers
No other media provides countable returns at the top, bottom, and through the funnel. It's not only the cheapest marketing, but the most comprehensive. No other media, TV, radio, newspapers, AdWords, coupons, deliver the full funnel.

As most Twitter users have learned, it's not easy to get huge followings. Further, it's very difficult to gain clicks on tweets. Most tweets are simply ignored. Without followers and clicks, can one gain retweets and digital word-of-mouth?

This is the role of a Twitter network.

Rules for Buying Twitter Ads

Hundreds of Twitter networks claim to deliver. A strong Twitter ad network helps marketers gain on all aspects of the marketing funnel, i.e. followers, clicks, and re-tweets. Here's what to look for:
  1. Huge followings and tweet frequency matters. Without both, advertisers cannot gain enough impressions to earn followers, clicks, and re-tweets.
  2. Avoid the hard sell. Keep your tweets entertaining and educational. Twitter is a social network, not condusive to a one-tweet close.
  3. Can you target with relevant ads? Not in the traditional sense of a purchased mailing list. Those who say otherwise, don't understand Twitter. If they check their followers, it shows a rainbow of interests. Saying targeted, they are selling what you want to hear. The majority of people follow on Twitter as a social gesture, not common interests. Further, the Twitter SUL (Suggested User List) pushes newbies to follow random accounts. However, the clicks are targeted since users opt-in on tweets that interest them. Thus, #1 above rules completely when applied to Twitter marketing.
  4. Should you use a third-party ad system that sends tweets on unknown accounts? Like all advertising, it's better to associate with known parties when sending your ads as tweets. Rather than 20,000 accounts with 50 followers each; it's better to use 50 accounts with 20,000 followers each. The latter lends more credibility, brand image; and thus better results.
  5. Many tweets is better than one repetitive tweet. As stated in rule 2, keep the conversation entertaining and interesting.
Should you buy Twitter ads?


It's inexpensive, more comprehensive in terms of measured ROI; and in the hands of the right Twitter network - incredibly effective.

Have you had success with Twitter marketing?

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