Pay for Tweet Marketing Campaigns: Yes or No?

Posted by & filed under Facebook, Featured, Social Media, Social Network Marketing, Twitter Tips.

Screenshot of the website of AdInfluent

The massive popularity of Twitter and Facebook in the Philippines paved the way for new business and marketing models. Initially social media was under the category of Earned Media (save for Facebook Ads), wherein you didn’t spend money to get people to talk about your brand. It was more of an art and it was mainly the domain of Public Relations. However the trend now is that it’s moving over to the Paid Media category where you can pay celebrities and influencers to just tweet about your brand or product.

The first company to offer services like this was Nuffnang via their Churp Churp program. One thing I liked about Churp Churp was that they allowed people to sign-up to be publishers. It wasn’t actually exclusive to celebrities. This gave everybody the chance to be part of campaigns.

The next company that appeared on our radar offering something like this is Adinfluent. Their main selling point though is that they have a stable of celebrities including Tim Yap, Divine Lee, Maxene Magalona, and many others.

The problem — it’s becoming too obvious
Personally I have nothing against Pay-for-Tweets. In fact I did a campaign myself with Churp Churp and the results were okay. However that was from the perspective of me as the marketer and what I was only seeing were the numbers. My perspective radically changed when my own stream started to get filled with obvious ad tweets from several celebrities and radio DJ’s that I follow. Since I found their tweets too “spammy” on my stream I just un-followed them.

I asked on Twitter for some people to chime in on Pay-for-Tweets and these were some of the answers that I got:

The consensus is that there should be more transparency in ads. The issue there is that there’s no body that will regulate this (and I don’t want to see one created).

What I like about Twitter is that it’s like a democracy. The user has a choice if they want to see the tweets of people in their stream. If a certain celeb is overdoing it with ads, then the answer is simple: UNFOLLOW.

The real question that should be poised and studied is that from a Marketer’s perspective, do Pay-for-Tweets campaigns actually work?

We need more metrics
Trending shouldn’t be the ultimate measure of success because like what we said in our previous article, “It’s not just about Trending on Twitter”, we need more numbers. What kind of numbers are we looking for?

My “metrics wish list” would definitely include click throughs and unique views. Not over-all “reach” and just “impressions”. So what if Celebrity A has 500,000 followers? How many of those 500,000 are actually active? How many of them actually read the paid tweets? So you trended… but that’s just like 5,000-10,000 tweets? How much did you pay for the Pay-for-Tweet campaign again? What’s your ROI?

I don’t even know if you can measure unique views and impressions effectively because a lot of people quickly scroll up and down their feeds and they can easily miss reading tweets. That’s why I think that in the absence of a full blown marketing study about the effectivity of your campaign, the next best measure you can do is click throughs. I’m very open to suggestions though if you guys have alternatives.

To end this post let me just state that I’m not saying that marketers shouldn’t do Pay-for-Tweet campaigns. In fact it’s a very interesting model that’s worth looking deeper into. What should stop though are brands and companies pouring in ridiculous amounts of budget into campaigns like this and they don’t even know if what they’re doing is effective or not.

10 Responses to “Pay for Tweet Marketing Campaigns: Yes or No?”

  1. Rochelle

    If this is the tool that Unilever people used for Magnum, then I say it’s effective. It’s no different with ChurpChurp as it is also a paid for tweet platform. The only difference is that ChurpChurp has “ordinary” people while AdInfluent has celebrities.

    In any case, ad/digital agencies also tap celebrities to tweet about products so it’s the same banana.

    Is it okay for me that more and more products turn to pay for tweet? There should be more data to support that this is effective. Even ChurpChurp’s reports are not that comprehensive. Yes, just like you, I’d like to see more in-depth to support whether a campaign is successful or not.

    I’m just glad I only follow a handful of celebrities so I don’t care whether they tweet about products or not. The only time I would care is if they tweet about products that compete with the brands that I work for. :)

    • Carlo Ople

      For me what made Magnum campaign amazing was the Earned Media part of it because of their over-all messaging and marketing. Not just the Paid Media marketing via celebrities on Twitter. What made it ever more “twittable” was the fact that it was always almost out of stock in a lot of stores. It gave the impression that it was a truly desirable product. It had a story to tell and it worked. I think we’re giving way too much credit to the celebs who tweeted about Magnum.

      Yes, more data is definitely needed!

  2. Coy Caballes has a sensible approach in getting number of tweet impressions. It’s the first tool I encountered that shows unique reach. Check it out. :)

    Though I agree that it’s not just about trending because you can trend on a slow news day with less than 1000 tweets, I believe that it’s necessary depending on the campaign objective: if you want instant awareness and bigness to the campaign, then trending can be your main goal. If you’re after credibility to your message, then a few tweets from influencers will do. If engagement is the priority, replies and retweets can be your measure then click-throughs if your primary goal is drive traffic to your portal.

    As for the question: Pay for Tweet – YES OR NO?

    I’d say Yes. But personally, the rate shouldn’t be on a per tweet basis. It should be per engagement or per conversation. I’d rather see ambassadors converse with their followers than simply broadcast.

  3. Sonnie

    I think it is no different than paid post, its kinda obvious. It’s not necessarily bad, but there should be certain transparency and disclosure.

    The good side, an opportunity to earn. The bad side, it can affect the credibility of the one engage on it if done excessively and with lack of transparency/disclosure.

    The gray side:

    Are number of followers really basis of popularity? It’s like comparing the customer traffic of Shangrila and 168 Mall. Who is the run away winner? But does it make one better than the other?

    How do you define and measure ROI? Trending? Sales? Engagement?

    In PH context, with 30-35% online penetration rate, is it effective? Or it’ll be effective if the campaign is combined with or will get the attention of mainstream media.

    Is it necessary? One celebrity tweeted about a fastfood burger chain. I thought, whether she tweets it or not, people go there, I go there and it’s all over mainstream media.

    Just my two cents.

  4. @vsangnam

    Celebrity endorsements of products and services has worked well in traditional media. Using the same model in social media is a no-brainer because that’s where consumers (you and I) are spending more time versus TV, radio and print. In fact, social media allows for higher accountability and more measurable results. ROI is still hard to define but using # fans, impressions, likes, clicks, retweets, and interactions is much more accurate than a Nielsen rating or a subscriber #.

    Using celebs to broadcast messages allows a Brand company to gain a large and relevant audience instantaneously. Creating ads that are authentic and engaging versus intrusive and self-serving is what differentiates good marketing from bad.

  5. Anonymous

    I’d like to see AdInfluent substantiate the claim they make in #2 (TWO) on their homepage:

    “Our platform is more efficient than online ads with an average of 10x greater performAnce “click-through” rates.”

    SERIOUSLY? My colleagues and I have worked along side them, not with them, servicing the same client, but they never gave any reports after the campaign as we normally do. So where’s the proverbial “proof of the pudding”??? K.I.A. claims like this need to be backed up by cold-hard data, ‘coz lip service counts for nothing when you can measure everything.

    I also agree with Carlo that adding up celebrities’ followers does not count as impressions, but that’s how they see and value their network followers. Following that logic, since we have 100,000+ fans on one of our managed accounts, that means it also gets 100,000+ impressions per post! BRILLIANT!

  6. @nonymous

    Sorry, but if you equate followers to impressions, you’re doing it wrong. We’ve heard of their work and were not impressed. Any self proclaimed media outfit that doesn’t know how to do post- campaign reports are hacks. If there’s no proof-of-the-pudding, it’s all talk.

  7. Abiel

    Who does not want extra-income?

    As for the tools… there are tools that you can use to measure the metrics… like hootsuite and also have you tried using Radian6?

    Great tool for social media monitoring. listening, determining who are the “real” influencer and the like… it’s supports facebook, blogs, Twitter etc.

  8. jon

    all clients are going this direction regardless if its payed for its the most effective and cheapest way to get the word out and start a campaign in 24 hours, this can not be executed

    churp churp came only this year we have been around for 2 years and founded by partners

    totally two different platforms. churp churp is for anyone. Adinfluent doesnt chose anyone who has followers. Its a science based on demographics reach and also global to country origin. We had done all campaigns that trended worldwide. Which agency can do that? This was trending for 2 days worldwide. Which platform can be replicated. The publishers are just the tools of the process. There is more science behind it which the reason why clients prefer this over any other platform


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