Can a content piece go viral just because we have full faith in it? – no
Can a content piece go viral just because we are doing our best promoting it? – no
Viral effect is mostly accidental. You can hardly predict it
We’ve talked a lot about going viral. Last week I listed some case studies of the real effects of going viral. More often than not something goes viral out of the blue… It’s the thing that makes the whole game that exciting
We can try to help it. One of the ways to help it is using paid traffic from social media sites. Let’s see how those work:
Twitter Ads (Promoted Tweets)
Offtopic: As a Twitter user (not as a Twitter advertiser), I HATE seeing irrelevant tweets on top of my hashtag search /rant
I haven’t had too much time playing with Twitter Ads (they are the newest of three) but my first impression is that with them, there’s no point in investing too much in each campaigns (better pay for lots of micro-campaigns.): While Twitter ads help “extend the life of a tweet”, you better experiment more…
You can target by:
- Target by keywords:
- Keywords in users’ timelines: users who write or engage with Tweets containing your keywords
- Search results: to users who search for your keywords
- Target by interests: Reach users with specific interests or who follow specific accounts.
You can see:
- number of views,
- number of replies
- number of acquired followers
I couldn’t find the way to actually see those new followers, list of replies, etc… which is a shame.
What others say?
- Here’s one really good case study that compares the effect of a few Twitter ad campaigns at @portent
Facebook Promoted/Boosted Stories
Just to avoid any confusion as to what promoted stories are (don’t confuse with sponsored)… Your page may have thousands of fans, yet none of them never even sees your page updates because they have low “EdgeRank” (that shows people what they better interact with)…
Facebook “Promoted Stories” feature bypasses Facebook “EdgeRank” and promotes stories to your page existing fans (smart isn’t it? First make up a limiting mechanism, then charge money for breaking it :))
I also don’t think the page fans can somehow tell if the update was promoted (I’ve never seen any label like that) unlike sponsored stories.
With that in mind, let’s move forward…
I have a bit of luck with Facebook Promoted stories but mainly for my own ego – i.e. I’ve seen a huge spike in page likes and engagement (which is always fun) but not much click-through… It’s quite addictive as when you start seeing much lower engagement level than your promoted stories got, you feel more willing to advertise again and again…
Facebook has always been very fancy when it comes to targeting – meaning that you have so many options that your head wants to crack… But with promoted stories you can only promote to your page fans and their friends (which makes it useless if your page doesn’t have too many fans yet)
You can see:
- Page post likes
- Page likes
- Page post shares
- As well as some insight into clicks
What others say?
Here’s a good case study from @econsultancy:
- It is largely irrelevant (especially for niche sites);
- It’s been created with consumer brands in mind;
- It makes your page a good target of spam and fake accounts.
I can’t agree more with all the three points. Yet, like I said, it’s nice to see those dozens of likes from time to time!
StumbleUpon Paid Discovery
This is the oldest kid in the block. I remember playing with it a few years ago – it had a different design then; yet the results have hardly changed.
I always see a spike in traffic (which is again good for my ego) but other than that not much action unlike what you see with free natural discovery at SU: People seem to do nothing and I’ve played with many types of topics and content either!
- You can target the campaign to category of the users
- You can select more specific interests (“precise” targeting)
- As for demographics you can target by age, gender, location and device (which was good to me as my projects were apple-specific, so it’s cool I could target to iPhone / iPad users)
For each campaign you’ll see:
- Number of paid visits
- Number of unpaid visits (those which were probably too poorly unengaged and thus you were not charged for those; I am guessing this is calculated based on time of page)
- Number of earned visits (those visits that you earned because some of the paid users like / shared your page)
What others say?
The general consensus seems to be that paid discovery won’t help your article go viral (but may help if you, for example, promote an infographic for a client and want to make seem like it worked :))
|Twitter Promoted Tweet||Facebook Promoted / Boosted Story||StumbleUpon Paid Discovery|
|By keyword (that people Tweet or search) OR by account (users following a user or an interest)||None: Your page fans and their friends||By topics + by demographic|
|Views versus actions||“Reach” versus likes & clicks||Paid visits versus earned visits|
What result to expect
|Sometimes you’ll keep wondering: “Where’s that comment which is reported; I haven’t seen it”||A lot of likes, a lot of likes from fake accounts, a lot of spam comments||Traffic spike, little action|
Social media advertising is cheap, yet low-effective and time consuming. There’s no way to maintain them on auto-pilot: You have to go back and create new campaigns again and again.
If you have read up to this point, you may have noticed I am not a huge fan of social media advertising. I am not opposed to it either (and I’ll keep experimenting) but I don’t see it getting huge now. From the three above, Twitter seems to have most sense…