Dana Severson

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Are Celebrity Endorsement Tweets Worth the Dough?


by Dana Severson

I’m obsessed with Twitter. Not because I love tweeting, but because I think it’s being oversold when it comes to marketing. I don’t think it’s as useful as many marketers claim it to be. You’ve got just 140 characters to convey a compelling message while you try to cut through all the noise on any given feed at any given time.
Just look at the numbers. In 2011, Twitter saw roughly 250 million tweets a day — or a whopping 3,000 tweets per second. And that’s an average. At peek times, tweets can reach upward of 8,000 per second. Your message has to be pretty spectacular to stand out with this amount of noise.
But this is beside the point. My new obsession is the celebendorsement tweet, where celebrities are paid thousands of dollars to peddle a product to their followers. It can translate into big money for even the lowliest of celebrities, but I question the actual return on investment for businesses.
CampusLIVE forked over about $3,500 for a tweet from Lindsay Lohan—pennies in regard to advertising dollars. It contained a mere 10 words: “These challenges for college kids on #CampusLIVE are SO addicting!” Out of her millions of followers, the tweet triggered just 4,500 clicks to the website, costing the developer close to $0.78 per click.
For a little-known company, this might be worth the investment—might being the operative word. Other options on other channels are probably more effective for creating a buzz.
A study conducted by St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia found that celebrity endorsements had little influence on the opinions of familiar brands. Janée Burkhalter, one of the study’s authors, says, “Celebrity tweets do little beyond communicating product information or encouraging consumers to search online.”
And with the Federal Trade Commission now urging celebrities to include #ad or #spon, signifying “paid endorsement” or “sponsored by,” the tweet could do more harm than good. According to Burkhalter, this type of communication can lower the overall opinion of the brand.
If Twitter is part of your marketing plan, a better option is to engage consumers directly. Open an account, build followers and start interacting with your target audience.
There’s something to be said for adding value to the users’ experience. When you directly interact with a customer, you’re better able to build loyalty, which goes a lot further to build business than a celebrity tweet…in my oh-so humble opinion.

This post was originally published at Beneath the Brand.


Copyright 2007-2014.  Dana Severson | Freelance Copywriter & Marketer.

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