What is the value of a Retweet?


James Crawford

Most organisations now realise that Twitter can be a great platform for promoting a business, and while some are using it better than others, the universal challenge is measuring return on investment.

At some point during a Twitter campaign a client will hopefully get excited about how many retweets something has received.  While being retweeted is flattering, this is a great moment to drive home a key point on performance measurement and conversion: what is the value of a retweet?

The fact is that it doesn’t matter if an update on Facebook or Twitter was shared a thousand times if there was no real world outcome.  If there is no conversion from Twitter into a true business goal then the retweet had no value.

Sentiment and influence analysis tools like Klout scores will take retweets into account and give a score which supposedly denotes influence, but in my opinion these tools are arbitrary and pointless. Here’s a much better set of metrics.

Digital metrics

A company website must be hub for a content marketing led approach to PR and the social web.  Google Analytics is the still the best way to measure most things

  • Track referral traffic from Twitter and set goals and conversions such as a sale or a visit to a Contact Us page.
  • Measure branded search traffic. If it is increasing then that is a sign of increased brand awareness.  Does the increase correlate to key milestones in a campaign?
  • Track the bounce rate. If the bounce rate on the website decreases then your content is relevant, if it goes up then what you are saying is not well targeted.
  • Create goals based on loyalty. For example, do your contacts (on Twitter or otherwise) keep coming back to your site?
  • There are countless other ways to measure a campaign and I have not even touched on how social media can influence search engines (I’ll save that for another day), but you get the picture that outcomes from social media are clear and measurable.

Real world metrics

Maybe your campaign is not content marketing led. Maybe the goal is to build relationships or a network?

  • Why not set goals to identify and interact with influencers, to establish rapport, build loyalty or arrange meetings or secure blog posts?
  • Are you aiming to target sales, is the goal to create loyalty with an existing community or customer base?
  • Is the aim to drive customers to a phone line?
  • What about customer service and client management? Is Twitter being used to monitor and tackle online issues

The real world metrics are not easy to track. They take time, and time is of course money. However these metrics are certainly more powerful than arbitrary Klout scores.  What is clear is that these true metrics will give you the true power of a retweet.


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