January 6, 2010
How often do you notice human sign turners when you're driving down the street? Anyone living in a larger city has most likely seen them. They are the people standing by the side of the road holding up signs for small businesses. Sometimes they are dressed in costume, sometimes they are dressed in street clothes. To gander extra attention, they twirl and spin the signs to attract the eyes of drivers. That's how I feel today. @WebmasterRadio.FM has been using Twitter extensively to promote shows, special ad-offers, and Affiliate Convention. The initiative is pushing hundreds of people per day to our various campaigns. It's all about driving the most relevant traffic possible and, in that respect, the campaigns are working. We've been using Twitter this heavily for nearly nine months. While there are still a lot of aspects of the medium that need to be thought through, it is obvious the era of subscribed instant message marketing is only beginning. Here are a few of our more serious thoughts beyond feeling like sorta like sign spinners. With Twitter, attention comes in a matter of seconds and drops off just as quickly. Within 15 seconds of issuing a Tweet, clicks are realized. Within five minutes after that Tweet is posted, the clicks drop off dramatically. There is a very short long-tail as people check their personal Twitter streams throughout the day but the real action takes place in that five minute window. That makes an attention cycle of 300 seconds or less. That one fact alone makes campaign analytics more difficult. I find myself obsessively watching stats and doing instant analytic math. 8 clicks in the last five minutes from a Tweet issued at 2:10pm. The same Tweet issued at 4:30pm the day before drove 12 clicks in five minutes. Retweets of yesterday's tweets drove more traffic than the original Tweets did but are only driving half that traffic today. Message A worked better than Message B on Tuesdays between X and Y hours but not as well on Monday between the same hours. A brain-teasing aspect about Twitter campaigns is the sheer speed of the attention cycle makes effective analysis of each effort maddeningly difficult. That speed makes A/B testing almost useless. A five minute cycle means we're A/B/C/D/E/F/G... testing. It feels more like tracking a multi-ad display campaign than a traditional PPC campaign both in volume and number of unique ads deployed. We have slightly more incentive to succeed than the typical sign twirler. Digital marketing is our career. Like sign-spinners, it's all about driving traffic. Unlike sign-spinners, we are responsible for the message as well as the outcome of that message's reception. Today, Twitter has driven several hundred clicks. How those clicks breakdown into the cycle defined by twelve segment per hour makes for some extremely interesting research and analysis.