Twitter Ads: My Experiment and the Results

How Much Does a New Follower Cost on Twitter?

That’s what I wanted to find out. I’d never ran a Twitter ad before. You can run ads for more than just new followers, you can also do it to drive more engagement (retweets, favorites, and clicks). I wanted to experiment with gaining new followers.

I’d had experience running Facebook ads before for new Likes and Google Adwords for page clicks. I was familiar with setting a budget, identifying a target audience, and crafting the ad text. This was no different. The first step is choosing @usernames.

Twitter Ad Targeting

This was an ad for @skinnycoco so I targeted two of it’s competitors as well as “users like our followers”. The latter means similar interests and demographics. You can add multiple usernames and even exclude usernames you don’t want to target.

Like Facebook ads, doing the above step gives you an estimate of reach. In my case it was 7K. The next two steps allow you to choose interests by browsing categories and to choose locations. I chose not to choose a category and chose United States.

Twitter Ad

The most important aspect of creating the ad is the text of the ad itself. You can either choose from an existing tweet or create a new tweet. Anything you could post under a normal tweet can be posted here (ie. text, picture, or link) in addition to “cards”.

Twitter Cards allow you to attach rich media experiences to tweets about your content. If you’ve ever seen a longer post with text, image, and a call to action underneath, that’s a Twitter Card. These cards can be used at your promoted tweet in your ad.

How Much Does a New Follower Cost on Twitter?

Twitter Ads

I budgeted $20 to see how much each new follower would cost, on average. For $20 I got 3,977 impressions (views), 66 clicks through to the Twitter profile, and 26 new followers. That translates to $0.77 per like and an engagement rate of 0.65%.

What Could Improve Those Numbers?

The first thing I would change would be to try different tweets and run them at the same time to test engagement. I didn’t realize that you could, like with Facebook and Google ads, run multiple ads on a single campaign. If I do it again, that’s what I’ll do.

 

20 Serial Entrepreneurs: An Analysis

Serial entrepreneurs want to change the world and “make meaning” but successful ones also make money, and lots of it.

Here is a list of 20 serial entrepreneurs and the companies they helped create:

  1. Andy Bechtolsheim: Sun Microsystems, Granite Systems, Arista Networks
  2. Biz Stone: Twitter, Xanga, Blogger
  3. David Duffield: PeopleSoft, Workday
  4. Dennis Crowley: Dodgeball, Foursquare
  5. Elon Musk: PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla Motors
  6. Evan Williams: Blogger, Twitter
  7. Jack Dorsey: Twitter, Square
  8. Jason Calacanis: Silicon Alley Reporter, Weblogs Inc., Mahalo, Launch, OAF/TWI
  9. Jim Clark: Silicon Graphics, Netscape, Healtheon, MyCFO, Neoteris
  10. Kevin Rose: Digg, Pownce
  11. Marc Andreessen: Netscape, Opsware, Ning
  12. Mark Cuban: MicroSolutions, Broadcast.com, 2929 Entertainment, HDNet, Magnolia Pictures, Landmark Theatres
  13. Mark Pincus: Tribe.net, SupportSoft, Zynga
  14. Max Levchin: PayPal, Slide, WePay
  15. Nick Grouf: Firefly, PeoplePC, SpotRunner
  16. Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis: Kazaa, Skype, Joost, Atomico, Rdio
  17. Scott Jones: Boston Technology, ChaCha
  18. Sean Parker: Plaxo, Napster, Facebook, Causes, Founders Fund
  19. Steve Jobs: Apple, NeXT, Pixar
  20. Wayne Huizenga: Blockbuster, Waste Management, Auto Nation

Birds of a feather flock together

Of the companies listed, you may have noticed some repeated names. When we sort the list by the companies with at least two serial entrepreneurs from our list, we get three companies:

  1. Twitter: Biz Stone, Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey
  2. PayPal: Elon Musk, Max Levchin
  3. Blogger: Biz Stone, Evan Williams

Similar Industries

And of the companies listed, another trend emerges, which is the similarities in industries.  The companies can be narrowed down into a surprisingly small number of groups, which could be categorized as ‘Technology’ and ‘Other’, but broken we see a large amount of Web 2.0 and Entertainment companies as well as Transportation:

  1. Software: Twitter, Blogger, Xanga, PeopleSoft, Workday, Dodgeball, Foursquare, Netscape, Ning, Plaxo, Napster, Facebook, Digg, Paypal, Slide, WePay
  2. Hardware: Sun Microsystems, Arista Networks, Granite Systems, PeoplePC, Apple, NeXT
  3. Entertainment: Pixar, 2929 Entertainment, HDNet, Blockbuster, Zynga, Magnolia Pictures, Landmark Theatres
  4. Transportation: SpaceX, Tesla Motors, Auto Nation

This follows a pattern in economics called ‘barriers to entry’ of which software has the lowest barriers in terms of cost and transportation, the highest.  Hardware and entertainment, it seems, falls in the middle, which is what you would expect.  So in the future, we can probably expect more serial entrepreneurs in the software arena, probably culminating up through app makers, which has the lowest barrier of entry and the highest audience: a combination ripe for the next round of serial entrepreneurs.

Twitter API Not Available – Twitter Over Capacity

Twitter is over capacity. Too many tweets! Please wait a moment and try again

I use both Tweetdeck and Twitter itself to post messages, or tweets, to update both my account, the accounts of my businesses and brands, and the accounts of my customers.  It’s really frustrating when the Twitter API (the connection between third-party programs like Tweetdeck and Twitter) and/or the website is unavailable.  I’ve somewhat learned the times when Twitter is most busy and tried to avoid these times, but this is a trade off.  Because of the way Twitter works, you have to be kind of “in the moment” to matter.  Yes, followers can go back and look at old tweets, but for the most part, they are only looking at their current stream and if you aren’t in it when they are, they don’t see you.

Why is Twitter so Overloaded All the Time?

Twitter has become the SMS of the Internet. Because of its restricted 140 characters per post, It has become the hottest thing in social networking. Every one from big companies, to  CEO’s to teens uses Twitter. The more popular the site becomes the more load there is on the servers and the software running on that server.  The original code used to run Twitter, Ruby on Rails, didn’t scale well, but that has been in the process of being fixed for a while now.  The issue now may be the simple lack of available servers.  However, the new Twitter interface seems to be more available than the old one which could indicate that the new profiles are running on both new software and new hardware platforms.

Graph of Twitter Usage Throughout the Day