There are many ways of increasing traffic to your website - and there’s a very good round up of the various options here.
One that is perhaps the most important for branded content producers is Twitter.
The social network has a variety of possible ways of engaging with its community including Sponsored Tweets which can be targeted in all kinds of ways. The jury is out on how effective they are as they appear to be a higher cost per click than some social network rivals.
However from a media brand owning perspective there is one highly valuable option and that is Promoted Accounts. These enable companies to buy followers for their account for a small fee - typically anything between 50p and £1.50. And obviously the brand owner only pays when someone follows them.
It is a tactic that many media owners have been using for a while and for certain companies and brands it appears to have been highly effective.
How it works
Creating this type of Twitter advertising is a fairly simple process. A brand owner/media company logs into Twitter and then puts in a lot of demographic information about the type of followers they want - male or female, UK based or worldwide etc. Then the owner creates a list of other Twitter accounts that they would like to be targeted. So, for example, if you are working on a fashion brand you chose to target followers from your rivals. The marketer then finally sets out how much they are prepared to pay for the followers. Generally the lower the amount the longer it will take to get more followers.
Finally the brand owner creates the ad (basically a tweet) which is designed to entice as many people as possible to follow them
If you are spending more than a few hundred pounds then you will be assigned a Twitter representative who can help you optimise your ad, make suggestions about how it can perform better and more.
The very clear and obvious benefit is that your site gets a lot of Twitter followers fairly quickly. If you are very prescriptive on your ad and who you want to see it then the quality of the followers are excellent.
A further knock on effect is that buying followers might help the number of followers you gain organically grow too. So, for example, a person could see that their friends are following you, so they too might check out your content.
Lots of new followers sounds great. The key question though is how many of the followers are likely to read or interact with your content? It is hard to put a figure on this, but obviously you can track referrals from Twitter via your analytics package to keep tabs on it.
The most obvious question is - might there be a better way to invest that cash - Google Adwords, Outbrain, Facebook,or even just providing more high quality content? Realistically the only way to find out what works for your brand is to experiment.
There is also the question of the future of Twitter. You can invest thousands building up a sizeable Twitter following, but what happens if Twitter goes the way of Bebo or MySpace? At the moment that seems highly unlikely, but it is a reminder of the possible pitfalls of focusing exclusively on driving traffic to your site from a platform that you have no control over.
Ultimately Twitter has made its Sponsored Accounts simple and effective and any brand owner who wants to extend the reach of their content would do well to consider using it.
Commissioned by The CMA