Twitter PR Worth $48 Million Last Month

I’m sure most of you saw the coverage this week that Twitter’s PR was worth $48 million over the past month, according to media monitoring company VMS. First off, hats off to VMS for the (very) timely use of its data to hitch itself to all the Twitter buzz wagon. I wonder how much VMS’ publicity was worth this week? If there’s anything your organization can do to tap into that buzz machine, do it now.

While there is some debate among PR professionals over how the value of PR should be measured, particularly the value of publicity, there’s no question that the media’s love affair with Twitter has catapulted the company’s brand value in a very impressive fashion. What’s most impressive to me is they seem to have generated the publicity through no direct effort of their own. I was unable to find any reference to Twitter having a PR manager or agency, but my guess is somebody is prepping them for their interviews (then again, this isn’t their first go at this). There has to be ridiculous demand for Twitter’s spokespeople from the largest media organizations of the world. And frankly, that has to be a blast for them right now.

According to VMS, Twitter’s exposure (media mentions) over the past 30 days had a value of $48 million. TV contributes to 57% of the PR value for Twitter, while newspapers contribute 37% (surprising) and magazines 5% (surprising as well). Of course, VMS suggested that this estimate could only be part of the true value, since it doesn’t track a lot of smaller, regional newspapers (I say “why not?”, but that’s a different topic). This value estimate doesn’t begin to take into consideration the value of the Twitter brand online – for starters, among the millions of users on its platform, or the endless stream of mentions across every single media channel in the world.

Can Twitter keep this level of awareness up? That seems to be the question most were asking in response to the stories I saw. I think no, but even when their coverage stabilizes they’ll remain one of the most talked about brands in the world today. Does Twitter have to spend a single dime on marketing? Probably not much. There’s not a single marketing job listed on their jobs site. We do their marketing for them, and we’re happy to do so. Could anyone improve on the success they’ve had so far? Not as far as PR is concerned, that’s for sure.

The Twitter publicity case study is an interesting one to look at. For very little investment or concentrated PR effort at all (as far as we know), Twitter has scored publicity in every conceivable outlet. Can the model be replicated for other organizations? I don’t think so. Facebook doesn’t seem to come close to scoring the level of media love Twitter does. It’s a bonafide new media channel that’s here to stay.

So how much is your PR worth today? Is advertising equivalency value a relevant measure of Twitter’s publicity value? What can you do to get the media to fall in love with your brand?

(Image Credit: TechCrunch)

About Jeremy Porter 214 Articles
Jeremy Porter has been passionate about the intersection of public relations and journalism since studying both Public Relations and Journalism at Utica College of Syracuse University in the late 90s. Porter launched Journalistics in 2009 to share his ideas and insights around both professions and how trends and developments in modern day marketing, communications, and technology impact those working in these fields. Porter also values the traditions and history of both professions and regularly shares his perspective in these areas - and related topics geared toward the next generation of journalism and public relations professionals.


  1. Jeremy – great story, thanks for including VMS. To answer a small question first, VMS doesn’t track weeklies because our sister company, BurrellesLuce does. But when Ad Age asked us to come up with an estimate, it took us about a day and a half to come up with as much data as we could, and there just wasn’t time to factor in the weeklies. Anyway, on the larger issue, we are always hesitant to infer that “ad value equivalency” is any kind of an “outcome” metric for PR, because the real outcome is never what the media space/time would have cost, but whether or not the campaign moved the needle on real business outcomes. In this case, it is unclear what Twitter’s marketing goals may be, given it doesn’t market itself directly. If Twitter charged for new accounts, then the number of accounts x the applicable fees would certainly be a better real measure of its publicity success.

    We’ve recently done a lot of research on how to best correlate media coverage with business outcomes, and learned that factoring in the cost of space/time in media analysis DOES improve correlations signficantly over clip counts or audience impressions. However, we utilize the “media value” data as a comparative metric only, against objectives, time or competitors. Media costs do serve extremely well as an objective data point for the assessment of Story Prominence, since costs are higher for media outlets with greater credibility and audience than for those with lower. However, they are not a sufficient metric to gauge real PR success.

    You might enjoy reading “Exploring the Link between SHARE of Media Coverage and Business Outcomes”, which was written by Dr. Don Stacks, Dr. David Michaelson and myself, and was published by the Institute for Public Relations Commission on PR Measurement & Evaluation. The Appendix shows our comparisons between media values, impressions and story counts, and their resulting correlations to survey results for colleges. Another paper is in the works that will focus solely on this issue, with suggested new uses for “ad value” data as a highly effective comparative metric, but not in the way it has been used to date.

    All the best!

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