What’s your Return on Twitter Investment?
In case you haven’t heard, there’s this site called Twitter that has been a pretty dominant part of the online marketing conversation over the last year-plus, becoming a sensation over the last few months. But what exactly is the ROI for getting your company involved and active on Twitter? It’s certainly an interesting question, with a pretty complex answer: as of this writing, if you Google “ROI” and “Twitter”, you will receive about 4.29 million results, many of those pages dwelling on this very question.
At the same time, as with any new emerging technology, it seems like many people and organizations jump in headfirst without having a clearly-defined goal in place. Without this, it’s impossible to tell if you are achieving a Return on Twitter Investment (ROTI) that is acceptable. Perhaps that’s why Mashable is reporting that over 60% of Twitters users quit within the first month; not only are companies and entrepreneurs not sure what they want to get out of the service, but everyday people who sign up aren’t sure what type of return they should expect, either!
While there are many different ways to calculate your ROTI, if we wanted to start with the most salient example, we could look at how much incremental revenue our business is generating that we can directly attribute to our Twitter page. Last week, Dell shared that it had made $3 million in revenue directly from Twitter since 2007, posting exclusive coupons and promotions as @delloutlet for their Dell Outlet site. It took 18 months for Dell outlet to make $1 million off of Twitter; they have doubled that with another $1 million in the last six months alone. Still another $1 million has come from people going from Twitter to Dell outlet to the regular Dell.com site.
Is this the most genius usage of Twitter (or any referral site) possible? Absolutely not. Is it easily quantifiable? Certainly — though one should be careful about declaring Twitter a free business tool, and thus a zero-dollar investment. Dell likely calculates how much time it takes for its employees to manage and develop its Twitter presence, as should anyone getting involved with any “free” online marketing tool. On the return side of the coin, the actual Return on Twitter Investment is more substantial than the incremental revenue alone. There are a number of “intangibles” (which is in quotes as nothing is truly intangible) that are harder to capture, that we should be capturing nonetheless (and which we will definitely be going into in the future!).
And on that note, I’m done with ROTI for tonight. Because of that acronym, though, I do have a late-night hankering for Indian food.