Twitter marketing by bots

Twitter marketing may be one of the most sought-after social media marketing strategies among all leading brands, the recent study raises many questions. According to the latest study by Pew Research, it’s bots, not the real Twitter users who are tweeting links to top websites. The contribution of real users of Twitter Inc. (NYSE:TWTR) to the overall number of such tweets are comparatively very low.

The study details that 66% of tweets carrying links to popular websites are shared by bots, a.k.a. automated accounts. What is more surprising is that top 500 most suspected active bots account for 22% of tweets sharing links to top news or event websites. To put things in perspective, only 6% of such links are tweeted by top 500 most active human accounts.

Links to Adult content and Sports are the top two most popular types shared by bots. Bot accounts for nearly 90% of links to Adult content websites shared on Twitter, while 76% of links to Sports websites are shared by bots.

 

The Pew research study is based on the analysis done on 1.2 million tweets carrying links to 2,315 most popular websites between July and September 2017. To classify accounts either as Bot or Real, the study used the tool Botometer, developed by Indiana University and the University of Southen California.

Twitter Marketing: Brands Failing to Generate ROI

The findings of the aforementioned study lead us to think if Twitter is worth spending marketing dollars. The findings also expose the sad state of Twitter marketers who claim to be the Twitter influencers and charge a bomb for generating traction on Twitter through legitimate tweets by human accounts.

For brands, evaluating ROI (return on Investment) of a Twitter campaign is still a daunting task. According to another study, comprises of responses received by the stakeholders of social media marketing in various organisations, measuring ROI of a social media campaign is the biggest challenge as stated by 61% respondent. Realizing the fact most of the so-called Twitter influencers or marketers always employe some of the shady marketing tactics, likes of automated tweets by bots, that generate nil or almost insignificance returns. It also explains why most of the so-called influencers and marketers insist on getting paid for their efforts and not by the ROI as well.

The growing influence of bots on Twitter is also affecting Twitter’s revenue books. A sizable share of brands is falling for the bots-driven-marketing strategies offered at a very low cost by agencies. However, in the wake of no returns or far below-than-promised returns brands are shying from spending more marketing dollars on Twitter, unlike Facebook. The financial struggle of Twitter highlights that such bots are adding no value to either the platform or brands. Despite Twitter being more promising social media platform than Facebook, it took 12 years for Twitter to record its first profitable quarter recently.

Bots could be largely blamed for the sad state of Twitter marketing though, there are many advantages and advancement these bots offer to brands and marketers as well. However, the need of the hour is measuring ROI of Twitter campaigns – we explained a few months back – and strategically balance the role of bots in marketing campaigns.