Sponsored Tweets is a website that essentially allows advertisers to pay for Twitter users for posting their advertisements. Before I go into my review though, I want to discuss an inherent problem I see with Twitter advertising.
The Twitter Advertising Paradox
In traditional online media, advertising is generally non-intrusive. Banner ads are off to the side of a website somewhere. Even if they’re built into the body of a blog post or article content, the text wraps around them with ease. Even articles or blog posts that are promotional in nature still don’t completely intrude on the reader’s experience, because they should (when used correctly) be relevant to the theme of the website/blog and propose to add value to the reader. You wouldn’t promote ABC eBook if you weren’t going to highlight the benefits and at least briefly tease the content.
Twitter advertisements comprise an entirely new beast. Here are my issues with Twitter ads:
1) The user who tweets the ad cannot sufficiently describe the benefits of the advertised product or service. Remember, there’s a 140 character limit. It’s enough space to mention what it is you’re advertising and provide a link to it, but not much more.
2) Making decent money with Twitter ads is paradoxical in nature. What I mean by this is that you’re altering the experience of your Twitter account – the very experience that made you a popular person to follow in the first place. Think about it. You need to be popular and provide somewhat decent tweets for people to follow you and to continue following you (celebrities are probably an exception). If, on Day 1, you constantly spammed your followers, they wouldn’t be around for long.
Okay, so you build up your followers because you’re a person who provides value in your tweets. Now that you have enough followers, you want to monetize your tweets. The only way to do this is to advertise, which will thus intrude on your followers’ experience of following you. This is different than putting a banner ad on your blog, because that doesn’t directly impact your content.
You need to be popular for it to be worthwhile to tweet advertisements, however you won’t get popular if you advertise often. And when you’re not popular, you need to advertise often to make any sort of money (since the payout will be much smaller). If you advertise often, you won’t become popular. Do you see the problem I’m getting at here?
How Sponsored Tweets Works
My criticism aside, Sponsored Tweets is a pretty cool and reputable Twitter advertising platform. From their website, here is (very simply) the way it works:
Unlike MyLikes, you can’t simply select any ad to promote and get paid per click. When you begin, you get to set the following criteria (the most important one being your price):
After you set your price, you’ll see offers that you can choose to accept or reject. You’ll tweet those ads and your Sponsored Tweets account will be credited with the payment within 24 hours. Once your account reaches $50, you can cash out.
How Much Money Can I Really Make?
The value of a tweet varies greatly depending on your popularity (the number of followers you have) and your influence (the % of your followers who will actually click a link you tweet). As you can imagine, building a large base of followers is probably easier than actually having influence over them.
Currently, my account shows 15 opportunities I can take, but all of them pay small amounts. Here’s a sample:
Obviously, I’m at the very low end of the “potential” for making money with Twitter. If you have a lot of followers, here’s a peak at what you could potentially make per tweet:
As you can see, some people charge a lot more than others among those with a similar number of followers. This all goes back to influence – great influence over 2,000 followers may be more valuable than very little influence over 10,000 followers. Sponsored Tweets also shows an influence score so that you can see each tweeter’s level of influence.
Just for fun, let’s take a look at the top dogs (most of whom are celebrities):
Can you imagine commanding almost $10,000 for a tweet? It’s crazy.
Strategy for Using Sponsored Tweets
I’m all about strategy, even if it’s something as simple as Twitter. I mentioned at the beginning of this review that the idea of tweeting ads can seriously conflict with your purpose on Twitter in the first place. While that’s definitely true, I think you can sprinkle in some ads without significantly altering your followers’ experience.
I’m not sure what a good ad to normal tweet ratio would be, but I think something like 1:4 makes sense. In other words, for every four tweets you write, you can tweet one ad. Inactive tweeters might only tweet one ad per day or one every two days, but active tweeters might tweet several ads a day.
I think this is an important plan to keep in mind so that you don’t lose followers or get them to ignore your tweets. Losing followers is obviously the worst case scenario, but having your followers start ignoring you is just as bad. Imagine if you regularly used Twitter to get traffic to your blog, and now because of your excessive advertising, your followers began ignoring links to your blog posts. It’s not a good position to be in.
Overall, Sponsored Tweets can offer you a little bit of extra online income if used appropriately. I would probably recommend working on building your Twitter following if you have less than 500 followers, before you start tweeting ads. Twitter is still a more valuable tool for building relationships and traffic to your website or blog – income from Twitter advertising should remain a secondary priority.
If you are interested, click here to try out Sponsored Tweets.
I’d love to hear about any experiences you’ve had with Sponsored Tweets, or other Twitter advertising services.
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