Twitter Receiving A Massive Amount Of Free Advertising

    July 20, 2009

When it comes to Internet marketing and social media marketing one of the most important metrics of success is the return on investment (ROI). Everyone demands to see something that measures this although most can’t agree on just how to accomplish that. Twitter is one outlet that people are trying to measure as to just how much value do their efforts get on the micro-blogging service. Well, while the rest of the world scratches its head on putting a number to the value of its efforts, Twitter is practically falling over itself with free publicity that has street value that would make any PR person’s head swim.

AdAge reports that news monitoring service VMS values the amount of publicity that Twitter has received over the past 30 days (the actual time period is a bit vague) at an astonishing $48 million. That’s the value of media mentions and buzz that Twitter has not paid for but because everyone wants to talk about it and use it including CNN and Fox News.

Twitter received almost 3 billion impressions — 2.73 billion, to be exact — in the past month, a time period that doesn’t even include the frenzied weeks in April in which Oprah and Ellen weighed in on the micro-blogging service. TV contributed to 57% of the PR value, newspapers 37% and magazines 5%. Incidentally, Fox News bested CNN in terms of total PR value delivered by its Twitter mentions, although CNN dropped the name more often.

These numbers could even be much larger since VMS does not monitor the coverage given by smaller newspapers. Even if you look at the numbers with a skeptical eye and decide they may be overstated (which I am not saying they are so please relax) most companies would take 10 % of that number as a value for free press in any given 30 day period.

To give some perspective the supposed value of the media coverage for bing only hits the $573,834 mark in the same period. The real rub for Microsoft is that the launch of bing is being supported with around $100 million in advertising. Twitter is even getting more value than Google these days which is really a feat in and of itself.

So once again Twitter hits a media landmark but there is some sense that the media coverage is outpacing the real life impact of the service.

Twitter’s unique visitors in June totaled almost 21 million as it grew 14% over May traffic. In May it grew 7%, a slowdown from the furious growth the site experienced in January through April, according to Nielsen Online.

It’s growing for sure but will the buzz continue to grow? History says that other social media outlets like Facebook and LinkedIn all had their version of a spike in media attention but it eventually leveled off into reality. I would like to see the value of what Facebook generates since much of its news as of late has been about improvements rather than just Internet chatter.

So how do you see the buzz around Twitter playing out? Will it take drama like the great document leak of 2009 for people to pay attention or will Twitter be so relevant that people will just have to talk about it – in 140 characters or less of course.