If 200K People Retweet Your Promotion And Nobody Becomes A Customer, Is That A Success?

July 17, 2009 at 5:45 pm 3 comments

Are You Tracking ROI?

Are You Tracking ROI?

Too many times we see businesses haphazardly throw random campaigns at the wall to see what sticks.  One member of the marketing team is “trying out” a few Facebook ads while a colleague is independently “testing” a viral program on Twitter.  I continue seeing articles written about “Twitter done right” and “viral marketing success stories” and not once has there been any mention of ROI or CPA.  There are too many marketers patting themselves on the back for simply creating buzz.  When did it become acceptable to spend money to get people talking about your giveaway but not your unique selling proposition?

With  any marketing initiative you have to ask, “What are we trying to do?”  This sounds like a silly question but you’d be surprised how many times a “great idea” takes on a life of its own and everyone loses sight of the desired result.  It’s imperative to identify success metrics – they will drive your strategy.

Lisa Barone shared a story earlier this week about a contest giveaway run by a company called Moonfruit celebrating their 10th anniversary.  The numbers were quite high – more than 200,000 posts per week.  Adam Ostrow over at Mashable wrote, “Not surprisingly, this promotion is working. #moonfruit is Twitter’s top trending topic today, beating out the likes of Michael Jackson, #iranelection, and Wimbledon-related tweets.”

This promotion is working?  How are these people measuring success?  Can you imagine approaching your boss and saying, “I’d like to spend $10K+ and use countless company resources so we can be ‘bigger than Michael Jackson’ for a week” on Twitter.  When asked for your ROI estimate you smile wryly and say, “Zero, BUT, hundreds of thousands of people who will never become customers will be talking about the Macbooks we’re giving away”.

This is the equivalent of a restaurant spending $10k for a big neon sign that says, “restrooms open to the public”.


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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Frank  |  July 23, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    I think everyone measures success differently. Interenet Entreprenuer and Tech Guru, Chris Pirillo said, “If you enjoy what you are doing, that’s success.” I have to agree with him. However, your points are valid. I think if you have people retweeting your promotion on Twitter, but have no ROI…what was the use of the retweeting. Sure your product got out there in the market, but nobody became a customer. I guess it’s a controversial issue, but success is definitely measured I believe in a variety of ways.

  • 2. Charlie  |  August 13, 2009 at 3:33 am

    Be careful not to dismiss the impact that marketing via social networking touchpoints like Twitter and Facebook can have at building consumer awareness. Remember it all begins with awareness which can take many forms. The campaign communication objective may be a giveway or a unique selling prop. The challenge in todays world of media fragmentation is to determine what message to convey in which channel to maximize overall campaign performance (ROO & ROI)

    Twitter and Facebook are very inexpensvie channels for marketers to build awareness.

    • 3. thesmallbiznest  |  August 13, 2009 at 1:30 pm


      Just like SEO and PPC, your message/promotion must be relevant. Moonfruit should have given away a free website design per day instead of macbooks. That would have driven qualified traffic. They would have 10 new customers talking about “that cool company, Moonfruit, that built me an awesome website for my business.” There are now 10 people telling their friends they just got a new macbook, “from some internet company that asked me to tweet about them. I don’t remember their name and I have no idea what they do.”

      Advertising to the disinterested in counterproductive.


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