Tweet me this, tweet me that…

For how long will Twitter survive?

That is one major question to tackle. And the guys at TechCrunch are surely busy trying to give the best possible answer.

After all, they do have the staff and the inside information available for the job.

Wait a minute…what inside information?

Twitter2019s Financial Forecast Shows First Revenue In Q3, 1 billion users in 2013

According to Michael Arrington on July 14, 2009:

The guy (”Hacker Croll”) who claims to have accessed hundreds of confidential corporate and personal documents of Twitter and Twitter employees, is releasing those documents publicly and sent them to us earlier today. The zip file contained 310 documents, ranging from executive meeting notes, partner agreements and financial projections to the meal preferences, calendars and phone logs of various Twitter employees.

My personal favorite is this spreadsheet with cash flow and revenue analysis from Twitter, here’s a peak:

Twitter2019s Financial Forecast Shows First Revenue In Q3, 1 billion users in 2013

Earlier this April 2009, eMarketer calculated that Twitter would have 12.1 million US adult users in 2009 and 18.1 million in 2010.

The Inside Numbers on Twitter - eMarketer

The 18.1 million number for 2010 appears to be far smaller than the one from the confidential Twitter documents that TechCrunch claims to have in its power because they estimate the Twitter population at a 100 million.  (Note: Twitter’s USA population represents about 40% of its total population.)

The Harvard School of Business points out another problem for Twitter, there is growth in quantity of users, not in quality.  People are just not tweeting:

The Inside Numbers on Twitter - eMarketer

While some people find Twitter highly addictive (myself included), since Oprah, Ashton & Co. have joined in, everybody knows that soon Mom and Dad will be joining and Twitter could become…so 2009!….next year.

Maybe. Maybe not.

What do you think?

How to target your audience using Facebook Pages

Welcome back!

Back in January 2009, I ran a post about Facebook Ads because I believe this is a great online marketing tool. This post was titled “How to target your audience using Facebook Advertising” and it touched on how to get started with an online ad.

At the end of February 2009, Facebook launched Pages as a way to allow businesses and brands to strengthen their online image on Facebook and increase the potential interaction with Facebook users.

Screenshot of the editing view of a Facebook Page
Screenshot of the editing view of a Facebook Page

A Facebook Page looks very much like a regular Facebook Profile and there are several organizations and business that have one.

For example, here’s the AT&T Facebook Page:


…and here’s the Facebook Page from my MBA school, the Shidler College of Business:


The difference between a regular Facebook profile and a Facebook Page is that instead of becoming  a friend of a brand/organization/company, you become a fan.  A well-thought feature is that brand/organization/company CANNOT add friends.  This is a great practice of permission marketing because it forces users to really think whether they want to become a “fan” or not of a brand/organization/company.  Therefore, the “fan” gives permission to the brand/organization/company to contact him or her, making communications personal, relevant and anticipated (the 3 pillars of permission marketing).

This is all fine, but why is the title of this post called “How to target your audience using Facebook Pages”? The answer is: Facebook Pages gives you key insights into the gender and age range of your fans. Yes, there are other nice features like number of pageviews, comments, video views and more, but the key insight is gender and age.  Below is a screenshot of Facebook Pages Insight:


Having the age range and gender of your bulk of fans will allow you to tweak your Facebook Advertising campaign.

facebook-audienceThank you for your time and best of luck in your permission marketing campaigns!

Viral marketing

Take a look at the AARRR model from Dave McClure and tell me what you think is the hardest step?

The AARRR Model from Dave McClure (Master of 500 Hats)
The AARRR Model from Dave McClure (Master of 500 Hats)

I asked this same question to a class of MBA students here at the Shidler College of Business and the answer of choice was the last step:  Revenue.

Yes, conversion is very, very hard to do.  However, I think that what my MBA colleagues missed is that you cannot get to the Revenue step without Retention and Referral.  Even though viral marketing only appears under the Referral step, I have found from my personal experience that viral marketing involves both Referral and Retention.

The current state-of-the-art of Acquisition is so advanced that acquiring users (more than 30 seconds on your site and at leat 2-3 pageviews) is relatively easy.


There are plenty of techniques (refer to the orange square above) that are pretty effective of practicing interruption marketing (as Seth Godin calls it and he provides quite a sad example of it).  A highly effective of acquiring customers is through Facebook Advertising, if you want to find out more about it read this post on how to target your audience using Facebook Advertising.

Currently web marketers are masters of the Acquisition step and MBA students (future web marketers) are focusing on finding out how to excel at the Revenue step.  The best example of this sad business model is the thought that Twitter is a Cash Cow in the Making (derive a funny @name, horde tons of followers, and reap the CPC rewards).  In a nutshell, the thought is that Retention and Referral are going to happen automatically somehow in any startup model.  During the dot-com era, and some still today, Internet startups fail to understand that the most common source of failure for startups is a lack of customers and not a lack of product development.  Often startups are good at managing its product development, but terrible at managing its customer development.

The gold (a.k.a traction or conversion) is to develop effective, scalable, contagious, ADDICTIVE Retention and Referral steps.

Viral marketing is essential for the success of any business enterprise.  Word-of-mouth beats any marketing concoction any given day.

Really good examples of viral marketing are:

1. Photojojo’s Scavenger Hunt: This little forum post has created 504 responses from Photojojo’s readers.  It is a very, very simple idea, yet very, very, very A-D-D-I-C-T-I-V-E.


2. Sprout widgets: I am big fan of Sprout because it allows you to tell a story and then that story can be shared with others.  Here is my stab at creating a Sprout widget for iLovePhotos.  This little widget can be found in various places of Facebook and I have found that people see it as a little pin of support for a little startup from Hawaii.  You can found our widget at Bacon Lettuce Photo – The iLovePhotos Blog.

3. Blogs that instead of being e-mail are ME-mail: the perfect example is Flickr.  This should not be a surprise but it is still a very hard idea to push.  Instead of telling people how great your company and product are, you should be telling your users how awesome they are.  Build a tribe (another Seth Godin term) that is about making feel your users good.


Retention and Referral are hard to achieve and there is no magical sure-shot way to do it.  I hope that this post gets you thinking about their importance.

How many pageviews do news-oriented web sites need?

Today I ran into an interesting article from my daily feed of Online Media Daily.  If you are curious how it would look in your mailbox, it would be something like this:

Screenshot of Online Media Daily
Screenshot of Online Media Daily

Nicholas Carlson wrote an eye-catching article titled “ Needs 7X More Traffic To Survive (NYT)”, which summarizes the findings of an advertising study of contentNetxt.  Basically contentNext states that news-oriented web sites operations can be sustainable at the 200 million pageviews mark.

Carlson explains further:

“Based on our research, the conversation [with advertisers] gets interesting at 200 million page views plus a month, but much more so around 800 million,” ContentNext’s Lauren Rich Fine writes in a report.

For big operations, like at Yahoo (YHOO), AOL (TWS) or the New York Times (NYT), that bar needs to be even higher. In order to survive as a Web-only news product, for example, Fine says the New York Times needs about 1.3 billion pageviews a month.

That’s about 1.1 billion more pageviews than the 173 million ComScore says saw in October.

Here’s a bit of a problem that I have with these numbers.  If you go to Google Ad Planner and take a look at the numbers for the New York Times, this is what you get:  490 million pageviews in a 30-day period.

Google Ad Planner shows web metrics of the New York
Google Ad Planner shows web metrics of the

I might sound a bit picky but I wish there was more consistency in reporting a web metric such as pageviews.  As a web analytics consultant, if I was to try to understand how to increase traffic at, I would start by taking a look at the trends in daily unique visitors  as to segment (or slice like a ninja, as Avinash Kaushik would say) the audience into customer experiences.  Given that I am cheap, I try to work with free data as much as possible, so free tools such as Google Trends and Google Ad Planner are my best friends.

Going back to the cited article, contentNext mentions that for news-oriented online operations, the bar needs to be set really high at more than 1 billion pageviews. Yahoo! and AOL are cited as examples.

Let’s take a macro view of the audience demographics of Yahoo!, AOL and


My conclusion is that should target more its female readers (notice how Yahoo! and AOL have a bigger percentage of female visitors) and its younger readers (notice how Yahoo! and AOL have a high number of visitors on the under 18 category, that is the first bar on the age graph).

This is just a general suggestion, but it’s a start.  Besides, it’s free advice, unless of course they would like to hire a new web analytics expert. : )

What do you think?