Sponsored Tweets

Definition of Sponsored Tweets

A Twitter post for which the account owner is compensated in exchange for promoting a product or service of a third party.

Sponsored Tweets in Depth

Sponsored Tweets are both new and rare, but there are a handful of sites and individuals who have started to monetize their social media followings by effectively advertising products and services on the platform. Twitter users who have a large number of engaged followers may be able to deliver advertisers by discussing their products on this platform.

Examples of Sponsored Tweets

Below is a tweet from The Onion linking to a sponsored article from Burger King on their site. Note that the tweet is clearly identified as sponsored (more on this below).

Example of a Sponsored Tweet from The Onion

In this example above, the sponsored tweet is likely part of a larger package that includes the advertiser’s creative on the page to which this tweet links.

There are a number of other examples of sponsored tweets available through a quick Twitter search of the #sponsored hashtag:

Sponsored Tweets on Twitter

Laws and Regulations

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has in recent years come up with a set of guidelines for disclosures required from sponsored tweets. Links to more detailed discussions of these rules are included below, but in essence the law requires that tweets be identified as sponsored when they are made. The most common way of doing this (as shown in the example above) is with the #sponsored hashtag.

Twitter has said that sponsored tweets like those shown above are acceptable as long as they are “manually posted or approved” and “as long as it’s not spammy. “

How to Sell Sponsored Tweets

Similar to ad sales, the ideal approach for selling sponsored tweets involves a direct relationship with a relevant advertiser. More common, however, is the use of networks that match up buyers and sellers. There are a number of networks focusing specifically on selling sponsored tweets:

Below is a table highlighting a few of the price points at which SponsoredTweets.com offers advertisers an opportunity to “rent” out the followers of a few celebrities:

User Followers Cost Per 1000 Followers
@khloekardashian 8.7M $13,000 $1.47
@snooki 6.8M $7,800 $1.16
@daddy_yankee 6.5M $3,250 $0.50
@MikeTyson 4.3M $6,500 $1.52
@Zendaya 4.0M $1,950 $0.49

If you’re thinking about monetizing your Twitter account by offering sponsored posts, there are a few things to keep in mind.

The most important item to consider is the limited revenue opportunity. As shown in many of the sponsored tweet marketplaces, the payment per follower is minimal. That means that you really need to have a massive following in order to generate a meaningful amount of revenue from sponsored tweets. In many cases, it won’t be worth the hassle of setting up–especially if you start losing followers as a result.

As shown above, even celebrities command in the range of $0.50 to $1.50 per 1,000 followers for making sponsored tweets. That represents the gross payment, before the network takes a piece. So if you have a few thousand followers, your revenue potential is extremely limited.

A better strategy for monetizing Twitter followers is an indirect one. Use your feed to promote more relevant pieces of content that can make money for you. If you monetize via display ads, focus on a strategy that will increase referrals from Twitter. If you have a paid membership product, look into running sales or coupons via Twitter.