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.