The Value of a Tweet: $174 per Donor

I’ve been fundraising to build a school in Laos with Pencils of Promise.

One of the amazing things that I’ve noticed is an increase in the number of anonymous donations after I posted my one-size-fits-all hack on Twitter as well as on Medium. Twitter is the only social media channel that I am actively using to promote my campaign to the public (my Facebook profile is limited to friends only and my Facebook page is also only followed by friends.) On hindsight, I should have appended UTM trackers to the Medium post to see how many of them ended up on this website, but unfortunately, I didn’t so we’ll just have to lump Twitter and Medium together (largely the same anyway but it would have been nice to know if Medium helped generate more donations).

(If you are one of the anonymous donors and disagree with this assumption, feel free to correct me in the comments below.) ​

This means that almost 10% of my donations have come from Twitter.

The average donation size from Twitter has been $147.

You can Tweet This:

Based on the number of tweets my post generated (15 tweets from the website and 15 retweets from Twitter), the value of my Tweet is $40.67. Compared to recent research done by Klear, “How much is a Tweet worth for a Kickstarter Campaign” where they estimated the value of a tweet to be $14.30, ​the value of a tweet for my campaign is 2.8X higher.

You can Tweet this:

(Note: This is not a pure apples-to-apples comparison; there are slight differences in methodology, Klear takes total amount raised by the Kickstarter campaign divided by number of mentions, and to level the playing field for campaigns that have been running for different lengths of time, they normalised the value of the tweet by dividing it by how long the tweet has been live for. I exclude all other donations (because I know exactly where they came from, be it a direct ask or from my Facebook account), and only include anonymous donations that are most likely to be from Twitter. I also don’t normalise it.)

Special shoutout to Andrew Coppin from Sydney, Australia, who was my 8th donor (lucky 888 Mr Coppin!) and my first Twitter donor.

Who exactly are my Twitter followers?

As of 11 Nov 2015, my 2,942 Twitter followers are:

2x more likely to have a net worth of >$1M

2X more likely to have gone to grad school

2X more likely to have a home value greater than $500,000

Source: Twitter Audience Insights

However, if you look at average household income, there is only a 5% difference between my followers and the rest of Twitter for the highest income category.

  • My guess is that this is because most of my US followers are likely to be Silicon Valley Startup / Entrepreneur / VC / Investor tweeps (inferred using Wireless Carriers AT&T, interests, lifestyle)
  • This is in line with a bio search using Social Rank and Followerwonk, though I can’t estimate the total number
  • For those type of Tweeps, net worth comes from stocks or carry and not from average household income
Source: Twitter Audience Insights

If you are a US marketer, the amount of data that you can derive from Twitter audience insights is pretty amazing

Source: Twitter Audience Insights

Compared to the overall Twitter community, my followers are also:

  • 20% more likely to buy premium brands
  • 13% more likely to lead natural living + fresh and healthy lifestyles (I bet they’re from California!)
  • 8% more likely to be Kosher (New Yorkers!)
  • 6% more likely to be vegetarian and 4% more likely to be dairy free (OK that’s smells like LA)
  • Most of them don’t do mundane things like buy eggs or milk and it appears that they’re less likely to buy soap either (does shower-gel count? Who uses soap??)
  • But I’m very proud to report that my followers are likely to have good teeth, as they have have excellent oral hygiene habits (17% more likely to buy oral care). You can tweet this:

But how accurate is Twitter Audience Insights?

1. Country data from Twitter is not accurate: it does not tie in with Regional Data or Wireless Carrier data

  • Many people do not report their location
  • I’ve noticed on a number of occasions that the default Twitter settings for location and time zone are wrong (yes I have 11 Twitter accounts, 8 of which I actively use for experiments, clearer social listening… e.g. @littlecodersSG is the one I use to track what’s happening with Kids Coding around the world; @giftedSGP is one I use to listen to gtchats or edtech chats)

I’ve also noticed substantial discrepancies between what Twitter, SocialBro and Klear report. For USA followers:

  • Twitter reports 40%
  • Social Bro reports 30%
  • Klear reports 56%
Source: Klear and Socical Bro

2. My initial hypothesis was that looking at Twitter’s Audience Insights on Wireless Carriers should give you a more accurate picture: Based on that (see Chart below):

  • 63% of my Twitter followers use US cell phones (versus the 40% reported in the first column, Country)
  • 19% use UK mobile phones versus the 10% reported in Country
  • 12% use SG mobile phones versus the 7% reported in Country
  • 5% use Airtel which is India

(BTW no one uses the term “Cell Phone” in UK or Singapore, not sure about Australia though, anyone care to comment?)

3. If you add it up, that’s 99% of my followers which does not make sense either

  • Could be that Twitter counts anyone under the T-Mobile Group or the Singtel Group under Wireless Carriers. I asked Twitter but no response — anyone know the answer?

4. Even something as basic as Gender has substantial differences:

  • Twitter reports 75% Male vs 25% Female
  • SocialBro reports 67% Male vs 33% Female (leaving out Unknowns)
  • Klear reports 59% vs 41% Female

These differences are pretty substantial, which leads me to question the effectiveness of geo-targeting (or any kind of targeting) using Twitter Ads, especially for non-US advertisers.

Twitter follower growth​

My latest follower count is 2,942. Not bad for someone who’s only been on Twitter for 6 months. I gained my first 1,000 in 2 weeks and the last 1,000 in the last 2 weeks. The period in the middle was when I was experimenting with techniques that didn’t work (but still inline with average).

Using SocialBro’s Benchmarking tool (which ROCKS!), compared to Social Media and Marketing Tweeps who I assume are the most sophisticated Twitter users, I’m listed 206 times, vs an average of 9 and I have a much higher growth trajectory. :)

Using Followerwonk’s Comparison of Users tool, you can see that there’s almost no overlap in my 3 user accounts. If you add up all my Twitter accounts, I have a total unique Twitter audience size of 4,809. And you should see my latest one which has been listed over 500 times. :p)

Wanna know my secrets?

Make a donation here and I’ll reveal as much as your donation is worth.. LOL! (And don’t bring the Twitter average down :p)

Note: After I posted the update, I’ve had wonderful, responsive feedback from Klear and SocialBro — very impressed. Slightly disappointed that there has been no reaction from Twitter despite multiple reach outs to ask for clarification).

Thanks to all the supporters so far. Because the campaign has gone so well, Pencils of Promise have invited me to participate in their Season of Promise campaign, to build 30 schools over the holiday periods.

I am offering to go to the local schools in Singapore to teach website building, graphic design and social media marketing over the December school holidays (all the tactics I’ve used in my own fundraising campaign) and to rally each class of kids to start their own campaigns. The reason I’m targeting school is also tactical — most donations will come from mummy and daddy’s friends and asking a child to “give up his Christmas presents so that another less fortunate child can get a pencil” is a good way to teach empathy and social responsibility, and I’m positive they’ll still get their Christmas presents.

This offer is not limited to schools, but is open to anyone in Singapore who wants to participate. I have 3 days left to hit my target before they announce this holiday campaign and I’m almost there.

If this is a cause you would like to support, please make a donation in the next few days, so that I can say I’ve already completed funding for one school and invite other people in Singapore to join me when I issue my press release. Please don’t feel intimidated by the average size of donations, I am fortunate and grateful to have generous, affluent friends and Twitter followers. But it was pure luck that I was born into these circumstances and many children are not that lucky.

$25 will have a massive impact on another child’s life.

You can donate directly here.

Originally published at with slight modifications.

Head of Digital Transformation | Chatbot Evangelist | Speaker | 21 All Star Twitter | 3X School Builder | Top Medium writer in AI 2018 |

Head of Digital Transformation | Chatbot Evangelist | Speaker | 21 All Star Twitter | 3X School Builder | Top Medium writer in AI 2018 |