How Much Is Your Tweet Worth?

by Brian Carter May 28th, 2009 

Brian Carter is Director of SEO, PPC, and Social Media at Fuel Interactive, a full service interactive agency in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Disclosure: Brian is a cofounder of the pay per tweet twitter marketing service TweetROI, which debuted about 45 days after this article was published.

Suppose, in the not too distant future, there were a good way (not spammy or inauthentic) to get paid for your twitter influence. Lets put aside the controversies of pay-per-tweet (or being a paid designated spokestweeter) for a second and think about how marketers would valuate your tweet.

Questions arise like:

  • Is a tweet worth about $1.00? $10.00? $50.00?
  • Is everyones tweet worth the same amount?
  • Should it be based on the standard prices of CPM? Or of CPC?
  • Should it have something to do with how many clicks a link in your tweet gets? Your number of followers? How often you get retweeted? How often your followers reply to you?

Cost per Impression, Click, and Action

Right now, any pay-per-tweet model is likely to start as pay-per-impression. Because really, a tweet just is viewed. If we pay for a tweet, were paying for the eyeballs. Later on, some platform might enable pay-per-tweet-click (PPTC), which would be more on par with the modern metrics of PPC advertising.

evolution of metrics in paid advertising

The evolution of metrics in paid advertising

One way to examine how much a tweet is worth is to look at the average number of clicks you can get from links in tweets.

Average Number of Clicks Per Tweet and Per Follower

Ive been tracking clicks on my tweeted links for more than a year now. I pretty consistently used cli.gs in the last few months, and I was at about 18,000 followers for most of that time.

Heres a graph of the number of clicks per tweet. The outliers are those which were heavily retweeted.

Twitter Tweet Click Metrics

110 @briancarter tweets from 2/26/09 to 5/15/09

Looking back at my clicks per tweeted link, the average is about 98 clicks. Max was 460.

So what should the cost per click be?

  • Should we compare it to pay per click? If so, which niche? The CPC in PPC can range from $0.10 to $10.00.
  • Or should we take my 18,000 followers and figure out what % of people are looking at my tweets at any one time, count that as impressions, and use a standard CPM price?

If we say 5-10% of my followers see any one tweet, thats 900-1,800 impressions. If I get 100 clicks, thats a 6-11% CTR, which is not unreasonable. [Thats 0.56% clicks per follower]

So, lets say we go with a $20 CPM or a $1.00 CPC. Both of these figures are lower than the rates youll find on many sites and in many niches via AdWords (for all our PPC clients, the average AdWords CPC this year is $1.80)

That brings us to a valuation for my tweets of between $26 per tweet (CPM) and $100 (CPC). So is my tweet worth somewhere in between, say $63.00? If so, you could adjust this for your followers- When we divide that $63.00 into 18,000 followers, that means if you have 1,000 followers, your tweet is worth $3.50. Bet you didnt know it was so valuable, didja?

Is Your Tweet Worth More If Your Followers Are More Responsive?

We know the above valuation technique is not perfect, because you might be a 2,500 follower Twitterer who is extraordinarily engaged with the right followers. You might get a much higher CTR on your links if youve consistently tweeted high value links to your followers. In the end, your followers might convert better than average into revenue for a marketer.

In the long run, we still want to be able to find out which Twitterers produce the best ROI for particular marketers, offers, and niches. This is why ultimately any pay per tweet system would need JavaScript conversion tracking akin to that available in AdWords, Google Analytics, or Omniture.

Are Social Media Clicks Worth As Much As PPC Clicks?

The next question is: are social media clicks worth as much as PPC clicks?

You might be tempted to assume they are worth less. But the fact is, were not going to know the answer to this for a while, and the likelihood is that theres not a simple answer. Why? Because there are many possible goals for tweeting, from PR and brand awareness at one end of the spectrum to direct marketing at the other. These not only have different metrics, different numbers of metrics, but also get radically different results in terms of direct measurable ROI.

Prospect States, Social Media Goals, and Direct Measurable ROIProspect States, Social Media Goals, and Direct Measurable ROI

Because Twitter could be used at all three of these stages, twitter marketing campaigns with different objectives to prospects in different states of relationship to you and your offering will yield varying levels of direct ROI, and ROI will be more or less difficult to track.

Brian Carter

CEO of FanReach, Brian Carter has been an Internet Marketer, speaker, and social media trainer since 1999. Brian has been quoted and profiled by Information Week, US News & World Report, The Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur Magazine. He is the author of the book How To Get More Facebook fans. He is both an adwords consultant and a facebook consultant. Check out his his free Facebook Marketing 101 course, and the full FanReach Facebook Marketing and Advertising course.

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13 Responses to “How Much Is Your Tweet Worth?”

  1. Sally Witzky says:

    Thank you. I've been looking for this type of data and POV/positioning for quite a while.

  2. The phenomenom that is twitter is turning into a juggernaut, and I feel that it is wise to keep an assessment of the value of twitter clicks / traffic open for now. I do feel that we are in for a bit of a surprise here, especially considering that you can have people following your brand, and the buy-in will be from decently interested parties already. The sky is actually the limit here!

  3. My tweet is worth about 10 cents, enough for a pack of ramen. lol, just joking – in all reality, it is amazing how much a powerful tweeter can generate interest and traffic with such a simple tool

  4. Duncan says:

    There are many tools out there such as mytweetworth and such which can be used to decide the value of your twitter account in terms of the advertising value. But I dont really think its accurate in anyway. There are users who follow and unfollow me constantly, i just think its weird that advertisers would want to pay to advertise for followers of accounts doing such a think.

    This article does well to bring up some points.

  5. Interesting article. I am sure advertisers, who are very savvy about this type of stuff will figure it out, and surprise us all with their findings

  6. [...] but natural I guess- an analysis of how tweeting could compare to PPC . Brian Carter offers an interesting perspective on Twitter and its use in advertising -I [...]

  7. It's a good thing you didn't go into the whole CPA issue, otherwise the valuation of the clicks would have to be explored.

    Compare Twitter clicks to StumbleUpon. Yes, someone stumbles a page on one of my sites and the analytics show a nice spike in traffic. Do any of them buy? Virtually never!

    I'd love to see an in-depth examination of the goal completions on the Twitter traffic versus something like organic search results. And so would any potential advertiser. Otherwise, someone says sure I'll pay $63 for a tweet, gets zero ROI and spreads more discontent than you could squelch with $6300.

    Your mileage may vary.

  8. Justin Cooke says:

    Very interesting article. I've been impressed at my CTR on Twitter and have definitely wondered about its value. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, for sure.

  9. Cool Gifts says:

    Great analysis. It will be interesting to see at some point in the future if social media is worth as much as PPC. I can see the argument for both. Comparing the different metrics for these will be a challenge, but should be well worth it.

  10. Very good post on social media. I believe most will be comparing on the basis of CPC direct marketing. In the end, the traffic has to be meaningful to the marketer – for brand awareness, direct marketing, etc. Anyone had any direct experience trying to convert twitter traffic? I'd be interested to know.

  11. OZ says:

    The relevance and engagement factor of the followers is the most important piece of this I think, you hit the nail right on the head. I'd pay much more for someone with 150 targeted followers in the niche I'd like to target, than some user with 5000 followers from every walk and interest under the sun.

    Regards,
    OZ

  12. [...] but natural I guess- an analysis of how tweeting could compare to PPC . Brian Carter offers an interesting perspective on Twitter and its use in advertising -I [...]

  13. [...] How Much Is Your Tweet Worth? | Search Engine People | Toronto Useful piece of work on valuing tweets. $3.50 per tweet if you have 1,000 followers apparently (tags: twitter) [...]