Buying Twitter Ads: A Real-Life VO Story

by | Aug 15, 2013 | Social Media/Networking | 8 comments

twitter=-2A long-time, well-established voice actor many of you affectionately know, is giving me permission to tell his story of buying Twitter ads.  He’s OK with my using his name, but I think we’ll just call him Basil Humphreys.

Basil is not the kind of guy I would’ve pegged for buying Twitter ads.  He’s plenty smart, but was not someone who was utilizing social media all that much.  He did, however, have a healthy curiosity about its potential.


For the longest time Twitter made money in ways that ran counter to it’s Social Media brethren.  Namely, they really HAD no monetization.  The social network was wildly popular almost right from the start, and Venture Capital investors were scrambling to give them money, so they were not hurting.  But they weren’t really SELLING anything.  Signing up was free, and it was the 3rd-party applications — using the Twitter Application Program Interface (API) or the Twitter raw data —  that were cashing in.  All those months and years, really, Twitter remained aloof to raw capitalism.

Giving in:

Finally (and you heard it first here on Voice-Acting in Vegas) Twitter started selling ads:  May 7, 2013 Advertise Your Voice on Twitter.  Thousands of people (not necessarily voice-actors) dived in.  The results were mixed.  But like most advertising, it’s how you use it, who you’re targeting, and what you hope to get out of it.

I’m not sure Basil had all that figured out when he began his Twitter Ad  campaign, but it did bring immediate results, and he was excited.  Here are some excerpts from his first excited email to me in late July:

Dave, I have to admit.  I have paid absolutely no attention to Social network advertising, thinking it was pissing into the wind.  I started tweeting my stuff to my followers but soon realized that I WAS really just pissing into the wind.
Well, yesterday I started Advertising on Twitter.  My followers have doubled and that includes businesses in my targeted industries.  Traffic to my website has increased already by just under 1000%.  I’m reaching an audience of about 18 million with each tweet.  Auto dealers and ESPN have clicked on my stuff.  No new business yet but it’s only Day 2.
Un-freaking-believeable!! …  AND I can control the cost on a daily basis.
That was the last I heard until earlier this week, when I pinged Basil again to find out how things were going.  About 3 weeks had transpired.  His reply:
Well, Dave, I got a lot of new followers.  A number of people, car dealers among them, favorited some of my tweets.  Of course, so did a lot of kids.  Got into a short-lived pissing match with a no name Radio DJ up in Alaska.  No jobs have come of it yet but I don’t expect anything too soon.  It’s probably too soon to tell whether it will have an effect on my income.   Had a conversation with a book author in Seattle via twitter and I hope to God she doesn’t ask me to read a book.  Also had numerous retweets.
All in all, all types of results considered, I have to say that Twitter is the easiest, most cost effective way to reach millions of people almost simultaneously and drive them to your website.  Better than Facebook, Google Ads or Linked In.   The easiest, fastest way to get your name out there into the world but I do recommend a newbie have some work to back up the ads.  The cyberworld can be a mean, nasty unforgiving place due to User’s Anonymity.  Just as quickly and easily as it can bolster a reputation, that reputation can also be torn to shreds and mocked mercilessly by millions.

So it ended up costing a couple of hundred dollars due to my marketing choices but I feel I certainly got my money’s worth.

 I strongly recommend it.  Two thumbs up!
So, there you have it.  One voice-actor’s brief experience with Twitter Ads, and it’s mostly positive.  Now, mind you, I have no idea how he configured the ad, what words he used, or what times of day Basil ran the ads, so it’s not like a scientific study or anything…more like a case study.
If this is something you’re thinking about, here are the pertinent links to get started:
TWITTER ADS FULL SERVICE  (for larger brands who want a more comprehensive solution and support)
Let us know if YOU’VE done some Twitter ads, and how successful they are.



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  1. Paul Strikwerda

    Thanks for diving into the social media ad business, Dave!

    Anyone can buy followers, but do these followers become buyers? That is the real question.

    Search engines have become smart. The sheer quantity of interactions (as a result of ads) is no longer enough to get you a top position. It’s the quality of the interaction that counts.

    In May, entrepreneur Christopher Null put the various social media ad services to the test. One of his conclusions:

    “Clicks aren’t everything. Despite getting hundreds of clicks over hundreds of thousands of impressions, my business didn’t net any new clients from these ads.”

    Here’s a link to the full story:

    • CourVO

      Thanks for your commments and the link, Paul. I appreciate both!

      Did you see the comments from “Basil” elsewhere here in the comments. I think he’s basically agreeing with you, but decided to “throw some worms into the pond” anyway.

      Best to you and yours,

      Dave C

      • Paul Strikwerda

        I understand the idea of planting seeds or throwing worms into the pond. The benefits of advertising should neither be dismissed nor overstated. It’s too early to tell if Basil’s campaign is paying off. As always, the value of this undertaking is in the ultimate ROI.

  2. John Lano

    Thanks for the case study, Dave.

    It would be interesting to see what Basil actually advertised in those promoted tweets. That would make a big difference. You can get all the clicks you want, but you need to lead those clicks from one step to the next to get them to contact you or to at least raise their hands.

    Great article once again, Dave. Thanks for keeping us voice actors informed.


    • CourVO


      You honor my blog with your visit. Yeah, maybe I’ll do the follow-up with Basil to see how he actually structured and wrote those ads.

      Thanks for commmenting!

      Dave C

  3. Basil

    The new followers and clicks are simply introductions to possible new clients. You now have a name and a business to contact. Direct messages and further correspondence will help establish a more personal relationship.

    Twitter ads are not a plan. They are part of a plan. If you think that someone will call you based on your ad and any links in your ad, you are, of course, a dreamer. If that ever happens, be stunned. As for the future, you will never know if your Twitter ad had anything to do with the person who hires you months from now. An ad of any kind is simply tossing worms into a lake and hoping some fish are hungry. An ad is an ad. You either do it or you don’t. You can sit around and debate the benefits of anything, and everything can be dismissed as just not worth the time or money. If you think it is money thrown away then don’t do it. If your particular marketing plan results in a high percentage of buyers then that’s good. An Ad is an Ad is an Ad. I have never gone to a McDonald’s or Sears because of any particular ad I saw, but their name and purpose has stuck in my mind so when the occasion arose, that’s where I went. An ad is an ad is an ad. That’s all. And no marketing plan has allowed me to reach an audience of millions in my targeted demographics for the paltry sum it charges.

    Driving to the store to pick up some tomatoes is a good plan for tonight’s dinner but planting seeds in your garden for the rest of the summer’s dinners is also a good idea – all for less than the cost of meal at a nice restaurant.

    • CourVO


      I love it…thanks for fleshing out your thoughts on this. Makes perfect sense!

      Dave Courvoisier

    • Rick Lance

      Thank you Basil and Dave!

      You “nut-shelled” the basics of advertising quite well.
      It will generate interest and drive traffic but it’s how you interpret and activate those contacts is what brings new sales… in any business… ours included!


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