We live in an escalating age of marketing accountability. This isn’t news. Anyone who has worked in our field over the past 10 years has witnessed a transition from brand obsession to marketing ROI and budget rationalization. While many in our industry pine for the good old days and complain about good ideas wilting under the heat lamp of measurement, I can understand and appreciate this point of view. I am rounding toward 40 and have two kids, college funds, a mortgage and a 401K. Money doesn’t grow on trees — either at home or in the executive suite.
I do a fair amount of work in marketing measurement and analytics. In addition to being a dad and a tape measurer, I’m also a tweeter. Not a prolific tweeter, mind you, but I like to send out intriguing thoughts and articles that my followers might find interesting. Unlike most tweeters, I don’t let everyone know that I just put ketchup on a hot dog or how I’m looking for my TV remote. Rather, I try to keep my tweets purposeful. And I guess I sort of thought this elevated me above the pack. I just casually chirped about innovation, culture, trends, etc., with the blind belief that people would see them, find them interesting and read the article at their leisure.
That was the case until I started shortening my URLs with bit.ly. As they say, when you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail, and anyone in analytics will want to measure what they’re doing. I’d been a tiny-URL purist for the longest time before realizing that bit.ly allowed you to track click-throughs. So as of yesterday morning, I started checking to see how many clicks I’d garnered. The answer? Zero. Not one.
The first response is to take it personally. I’m boring. No one likes what I tweet. I’m a loser. After I had a moment to reflect though, I felt better. Is it me, or is it the medium? Is Twitter really the best medium for enticing people to read lengthy tomes on whatever topic? Do the people updating everyone on how their haircut is going have it right? Is Twitter essentially just a reflection of the fact most people are more interested in small talk than deep, heart-felt discussions? Is Twitter hobbled by our cultural obsession with easy/instant gratification?
To this end, I’ve started an experiment. I’m going to start putting out an even balance of intellectual tweets and fun, easy tweets to see if I can change my current dynamic. For example, here are two of the tweets I posted this morning.
I’ll be tracking these and others to see what entices people to click at all. It should be noted that the majority of my followers are not my friends. Rather, they are like-minded individuals in the marketing, advertising, digital and social ranks. So they should theoretically be more attracted to the egghead tweets. We shall see. I hope to report some results in a month or so. If no one clicks at all? Well then, that has significant implications for both my ego as well as brands wanting to leverage Twitter for commercial purposes outside of discounting.