A Cheapskate’s Guide to Twitter Ads

When running an internet-based business, you can’t throw a rock without hitting an article telling you how important it is to have a presence on social media like Facebook and Twitter. (P.S. Please follow us on Twitter and Facebook!) Meanwhile, said services will bombard you with offers to run ads to get more likes/followers.

So, that got me thinking: how many Twitter followers can I get for a tiny advertising spend? Say, lunch at a fast-food restaurant kind of tiny. The following post is the result of that experiment.

My first task was to decide on my “tiny” budget. Twitter let’s you set a daily budget as well as a total budget for a campaign, so I decided to set a $1 per day budget for one week. In other words, $7 or a couple chalupas and a large drink. Next, I targeted the ad at people in the U.S. with interest in computer games and computer programming. For advertisement text I used a couple standard “follow us for news about our latest games”-style tweets.

After running the campaign, I ended with with a grand total of 4 new followers from 1,627 impressions. Thankfully, Twitter charges for follows, not impressions, so my total expenditure came out to $3.47 ($0.87 per follow).

After seeing what a slow trickle over a week looked like, I decided to see what would happen if I used the same tiny budget in one day. I made a copy of my $7 over a week campaign and changed my daily budget from $1 to $7. I then ran the campaign for one day.

The results of this new campaign was, once again, 4 new followers. This time, they came all on the same day from a pool of 5,547 impressions. This time, the entire $7 budget was exhausted by about midday with an average cost of $1.75 per follow.

By the end of this experiment, I had spent a little over $10 to acquire 8 followers. Considering I acquired more than 8 followers organically during the same period, the results aren’t that impressive. Then again, I didn’t spend that much. That being said, the slow trickle campaign did have less than half the cost per follower of the one-day campaign. Slow and steady may indeed win the race.

Posted in Social.