Gasp! Advertising on Twitter with ad.ly & Sponsored Tweets… Is It Okay to Make Money?

November 18, 2009 - Written by Gyutae Park  

With the rising popularity of Twitter as an online social networking and communication channel, many businesses are using the tool in a variety of different ways including the following:

  • spreading brand awareness
  • directly interacting with customers
  • syndicating links to related content
  • running special promotions

tweetmoneyIn fact, Twitter has its own Twitter 101 Guide for businesses and includes basic how-to, best practices, and even case studies. There are quite a few big brands effectively utilizing Twitter with new ideas to gain traffic.

However, almost all of the marketing being done on Twitter right now is direct through company profiles and viral marketing (retweets). What if businesses wanted to spread awareness by paying prominent and influential Twitter users to advertise for them to their own audience? Is that allowed..?

Twitter currently has no such program and many cringe at the idea of incorporating advertisements into tweets. However, I think it can be a win-win situation for everyone involved and the advertising doesn’t have to be so bad.

Advertisers get a ton of exposure by leveraging the audiences of the top users and seeding viral campaigns. Users get paid handsomely for a bunch of sponsored 140 character messages. And Twitter is finally able to generate some revenue. Sure, you might argue that incorporating advertising may turn people off and hurt Twitter, but which communication channel today isn’t attached with ads? (TV, print, radio, blogs, web mail, etc) People seem to deal with it just fine. Besides, if Twitter doesn’t do it, third party sites will.

Which brings me to my next point…

Make Money with Advertising in Your Tweets

There are already a handful of startup ad networks that specialize in connecting advertisers with Twitter users willing to publish sponsored messages to their followers.

adly

The networks with the most promise so far are ad.ly and Sponsored Tweets. ad.ly has received a considerable amount of funding and has the support of celebrity publishers like Kim Kardashian, Dr. Drew, and Brooke Burke and top advertisers like Microsoft, Sony, NBC, and Universal Pictures. Sponsored Tweets has Kendra Wilkinson, Bethanny Frankel, CarrotTop, and many more.

So how exactly does it work?

Advertisers on the ad.ly platform choose which Twitter users they’d like to pitch their advertisement to and submit bids. Users then have the option to either approve or deny the bid. If accepted, the advertisement message is automatically sent out, usually 4 times over the course of a week. Of course, the messages are marked as ad.ly ads as shown in the example below.

adly-ad

As for tracking metrics for advertisers, there’s a dashboard that displays clicks and estimated impressions for all targeted publishers. Of course, each campaign would need to be tested and tweaked to achieve maximum results.

adly-advertiser

How much money can you make?
After signing up as a publisher for ad.ly, the system gave me a suggested weekly price (~4 tweets) of $67. My personal  Twitter account @gyutae has around 5,000 followers.

adly-price

This is based on a quality score that doesn’t necessarily rely solely on the number of followers. For example, a Twitter user with a loyal following of just 500 could make more than someone with 5,000 random bot followers.

The rate that I got from ad.ly is considerably better than what Sponsored Tweets offers me per tweet – $6.05.

sponsored-tweets-panel

Obviously, the more followers you have and the more engaging you are on Twitter, the more money you can potentially make. Another reason to build up that Twitter account!

Money making examples

To give you some examples of what’s possible, John Chow recently made $1,000 for his first tweet (he has 50,000 followers) on ad.ly. Shoemoney made $15,000 in one month for tweets he sent out using ad.ly and Sponsored Tweets.

Very impressive – and these guys are very small compared to the celebrity Twitters out there. I don’t even want to know how much Kim Kardashian gets per tweet (a user with millions of followers gets 5 figures per tweet).

Sign up for ad.ly and Sponsored Tweets as a publisher, and try them out. How much money do your tweets command?

Advertising on Twitter – Does it work?

Personally I have not tried out any of the pay per tweet services as an advertiser, but I think it could bring interesting results. After all, if publishers are making a lot of money it means advertisers are making even more, right?

The main benefit that I see with Twitter advertising is that sponsored messages could lead to organic retweets and sharing. In other words, you could potentially get a lot more for your money by igniting a viral campaign starting with the ad networks. Of course this will require a lot of trial and error, but the strategy is definitely on my to do list for marketing my sites.

Check out some of the experiences other marketers have had using pay per tweet advertising from Sponsored Tweets and ad.ly:

Results are mixed so far, but like I said, Twitter advertising requires quite a bit of testing before finding something that works.

What do you think about ad.ly, Sponsored Tweets, and the other pay per tweet ad networks? Would you use them as either a publisher or advertiser? Leave your experiences and thoughts in a comment here!

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Posted in Articles, Make Money Online, Social Media
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Comments

12 Responses to “Gasp! Advertising on Twitter with ad.ly & Sponsored Tweets… Is It Okay to Make Money?”

Melvin on November 19th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

I don’t see any reason why not. I mean as long as its relevant to my followers and my niche then I definitely would. The good thing about those companies is that they can never be gamed as they have a goo algorithm on determining accounts with interactive followers than those who don’t have.

Gyutae Park on November 21st, 2009

Anything can be gamed, but the networks are trying their best to make sure advertisers get the most for their money. It’ll be interesting to see how Twitter advertising progresses over the next few years.

 
 
Golden Blogger on November 19th, 2009

To be honest I hate when I get spammy paid tweets from almost anyone… If I follow you, I follow because I like what you have to say not because and its really annoying getting “spammed” with links which you might not even be interested with

Excellent post over there Gyutae 🙂

Gyutae Park on November 21st, 2009

Cool, thanks Olgi. There’s always a resistance to advertising. No one ever wants to deal with it, but we understand that a lot of times it’s necessary.

I think the key, as with anything else advertising-related, is to use moderation. Spamming is never a good thing if you’re trying to build a loyal following.

 
 
David Walker on November 19th, 2009

I use Sponsored Tweets but recently signed up on ad.ly once I got the buzz. There is such a thing as too much of ads everywhere but they are a necessary evil that we just have to get used to..and try to make money off. Since they have a quality score based on genuine followers, I’m getting rid of any bots asap

Gyutae Park on November 21st, 2009

ad.ly seems to have better payouts right now, but the two companies pretty much offer the same thing. People are always adverse to advertising, but I think a system like this can easily be integrated into Twitter without doing much damage – and creating a lot of revenue options.

 
 
Chris Peterson on December 8th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

I personally don’t like Ad.ly as even after having 500 followers I didn’t get any tweet. I think the criteria for getting sponsored tweet is different. I need to have a big database of followers to succeed.

 
aumento seno on December 16th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

twitter certainly is a very useful platform to find work, but I must say that there are some countries where its use is very limited (eg Spain and Italy)

 
Mohsin on February 23rd, 2010

Even though I don’t mind the ads at all, I’m not considering doing paid tweeting. And if someone I follow leaves a paid tweet in my Twitter timeline, it’ll just make me trust them less.

 
Sushie on March 13th, 2010

I have not joined Ad.ly neither Sponsored Tweet yet, i wait for getting more quality followers before joining them.
It is a good way to make money but it should be a little difficult now because everyone is doing that…
Good article by the way. ^^

 
Resa on June 11th, 2010 Subscribed to comments via email

I didn’t like ad.ly to much, because its too hard to get advertiser/sponsor. I only have around 900 followers and been join around 1 month, but still not have any advertiser. Maybe its not for small tweeter like me…

 
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