Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Twitter Says Its Ads Make Money for Politicians

Can you sway someone’s vote with 140 characters? Hard to tell. But you can get them to cough up some money for your campaign.

That’s the thrust of a new study from Twitter and Web traffic tracker Compete out this afternoon. It says its numbers prove that Tweets can lead directly to political donations.

The relevant data:

  • Twitter users in general are 68 percent more likely to visit a campaign donation page than the rest of Web surfers.
  • Twitter users exposed to political Tweets are 97 percent more likely than other Twitter users to visit donation pages.
  • Twitter users exposed to political Tweets are more likely to visit donation pages than generic political sites.
  • More exposure to political Tweets increases the likelihood Twitter users will visit donation pages.
  • Note: The survey doesn’t seem to track whether people actually took out their credit cards. But it implies that increased visits equals increased odds of that happening.

And here are some related charts:

Twitter’s summary of the study doesn’t specifically call out the efficiency of political advertising on Twitter vs. unpaid messages, but you can easily see what Twitter is getting at: Twitter is running the post on its advertising blog, and it’s attributed to Peter Greenberger, who left Google to head up Twitter’s political ad unit last year. Greenberger says there are more than 100 politicians and political issue advertisers running campaigns on Twitter this cycle.

I talked to Greenberger about this stuff in general last month. When I suggested that Twitter might be better for direct response ads — mobilization and donations — than branding — convincing someone to support a candidate or position — he insisted that his platform was a great place for persuasion, period.

But for today, at least, he’s playing up the immediate benefits of his ads. Perhaps we’ll know more about the big picture stuff after the votes are counted.


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