It always amazes me how things converge onto a point in what seems to be complete coincidence, but when it happens time and again you see that it is just a natural convergence of multiple minds pushing forward ideas towards a natural conclusion.
And so when I arrived at the Techcrunch Crunchup I was not surprised to find that a number of companies (including Twitter themselves ) would be talking about Twitter based advertising.
I was also at the Crunchup to announce our own new Twitter advertising model called Adtweets – which is a new ad-platform that allows established ad-networks to leverage the power of the retweet (something we feel we have extensive knowledge within.) by allowing current display adverts to gain a retweetable element. If you want to read the full details we have a separate post.
I wanted to share some fascinating numbers on how content gets disseminated across twitter via Retweets, we recently launched our own Analytics package that allows individual stories to be analysed in great detail.
An interesting fact that has an immense impact for anyone trying to advertise on Twitter is that when I analysed 20 of the top tier Twitter accounts (e.g. with followers of more than 500,000) I found that on average only 35% of the retweets that a link gained were directly originated from their own Twitter account.
So as an example a recent Mashable story with 1598 retweets I found that only 586 were a direct result of their pushing it out to the@mashable Twitter account (which has 1,751,213 followers) and the largest proportion (825 of them) was in fact from originating retweets (e.g. clicking our retweet button).
The second interesting set of numbers is the click data that then results from all those retweets – again from the same story we find that it was clicked 12558 times (split across 5 different shortener services) of that total 8196 were direct (e.g. mostly from Twitter clients such as Seesmic, Tweetdeck) 2896 were from the Twitter.com and the 1539 were from 80+ other Twitter web based clients.
What do I draw from these facts? The first is that any model must be inclusive of external clients. So in the instance of Robert Scoble’s ‘SuperTweets‘ the Twitter clients will need a big incentive to display those adverts – e.g. a revenue share. My gut feeling is that in-tweet advertising is still the only effective route forward – just because it applies to the KISS principle.
My second conclusion is that distribution into the mainstream Twitter user-base is absolutely crucial to getting the message heard by the greatest number of users.
Lastly I would like to show you the kind of advertising that I think is the future – and that works perfectly with a model of retweeting. [disclosure: Sun Microsystems is a partner of TweetMeme]
Full details of our own advertising platform can be found here.