Commentary

Fewer Twitter Followers? No Problem - Buy A TV Schedule

Major celebrities -- as well as entertainment and other brands -- have lost some Twitter followers in recent days, once the company purged suspicious accounts.  

Some may call them fake. Still, money was being paid by someone.

Twitter expects it will have reduced the total follower count  on the platform by about 6% — a substantial drop. And there is this consideration for stock market analysts: Twitter has said that won’t affect its “most active” account totals.

What are the specific consequences? 

Big celebrities, such as Katy Perry, are down 3 million followers to 107 million; Ellen DeGeneres lost 2  million, leaving her 76.1 million followers; Barack Obama gave up 3 million to 101 million; and our chief executive in Tweet, President Trump lost 340,000 followers, now at 53 million.

That can hurt -- especially for those celebrities who make money from sponsorship of products. Sponsored tweets are a key part of Twitter’s ecosystem -- for celebrities and brands. To get LeBron James to tweet out your product, expect to pay at about $140,000, according to one report.

How much will Twitter’s lowering of followers mean for marketers? Perhaps the declines will also be in modest percentages.

But what about marketing value? 

TV news brands, for example slipped somewhat less than Twitter’s overall efforts -- NBC News, dipping 1.1% to 6.1 million; CBS News, losing 4% to 6.4 million; ABC News, off 2.1% to 13.8 million; Fox News, down 1.1% to 17.8 million; CNN, 1.7% lower to 40.0 million; and MSNBC falling 1% to 2.1 million.

For its own part, the Twitter brand dropped 12% to 7.7 million.  

TV advertisers are used to this. They are witnessing changing data in recent years on traditional TV -- due to marketplace shifts, general media fractionalization, or changes in TV viewership.

Twitter can also be used to drive followers to other platforms where brands can make money. Brands can use Twitter to sell products, crowdsource for money or promote sales lead-generation.

Not to leave out the obvious: There are some nefarious companies using Twitter to make rogue business.  

In January, The New York Times found one small company in Florida sold fake followers and other social-media engagement to hundreds of thousands of users around the world -- including politicians, models, actors and authors.

Will brands now look to make up some declines in buying other media -- like traditional TV?

Maybe we should be teased with those new five-or-six second traditional TV commercials from a celebrities or big sports athletes. The content: Just an on-air tweet-like message -- with perhaps a McDonalds' hashtag.

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