One-Half Billion, as in “B,” Impressions at #DadChat

Category: Weekly Columns

#DadChat is going on two years old and I estimate that we garnered over 500,000,000 “impressions” in 2012. That estimate is likely lower than the reality since #DadChat has become more than a once-a-week hourly get together. Our hashtag is synonymous with parents and added to parent-centric tweets all the time, plus the community is always interacting. It’s a beautiful thing. NOTE: I just did an actual count, using each week’s transcript numbers from and the actual number for all of 2012 is 682,000,000 .

Guy Kawasaki was our co-host and this was perhaps one of the biggest hours on Twitter ever!

Our average numbers for our weekly one-hour Thursday evening #DadChat, from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. PT/9:00 – 10:00 p.m. ET, are 100-200+ participants, 1,200 or more tweets, and 10,000,000+ impressions. Interspersed throughout this column are stats from various of our chats. 1,200 tweets in one hour is one every 3 seconds.

If you add into the mix the numbers from 2010, the year that #DadChat began, we have likely topped 700,000,000 impressions since our inception; or roughly 1/10 of the world’s population. I actually believe the real number is closer to 1,000,000,000. I think that’s sort of impressive.

Hello Brands! Hello Community Managers! Hello Madison Avenue!

NOTE: #DadChat is a true labor of love for me. This post expresses my belief in the general value of #DadChat and the best Tweet Chats. I began #DadChat simply because I loved #blogchat and other chats and wanted to do one that focused on parents. I also wanted to do one “my way.” A chat that would be fun, funny, informative, diverse, crazy, and always entertaining. I wanted to create a world-wide community. We did. Now, there is the opportunity for brands/advertisers/marketers/Madison Avenue to join us. I will NEVER denigrate the community or #DadChat for a buck – thankfully, I don’t have to.

Tweet Chats that have the right demographic are the best and most economical way to reach YOUR audience. I’ve written about my frustration with brands NOT getting it (yet), but I’m convinced there are too many smart peeps working at the big and small companies that will fully embrace the broad spectrum of Social Media, especially the prominent Tweet Chats.

Ford sponsored #DadChat, as did Unreal Candy and soon a major ski area will come aboard. We’ve also done several fundraisers for charities, which I love to do since I strongly believe Social Media = Social Good.

Each of these brands realized that the #DadChat community — aka demographic — is THEIR demo and THEIR target audience. Plus, when they sponsor a good interactive chat, the tweets flow beyond the designated hour and allow for a good follow-up and potential conversion afterward.

Let’s compare what an advertising expense for a billboard does for a brand vs. sponsoring a relevant Tweet Chat. What does a billboard get the product/brand/company? Recognition, impressions, a glance? Prominent billboards cost tens of thousands of dollars per month.

What does a Tweet Chat get a product/brand/company? Interactivity, life beyond the chat itself, real connection, and it costs a fraction of a billboard.

Are YOU Paying Attention!

Let’s talk about “Impressions,” because I believe most people don’t get what they are. The billboard analogy is perfect because the “impressions” a billboard gets are much the same as the “impressions” a hashtag gets. Impressions for a billboard are simply the number of eyeballs – usually cars – that pass by. There is no way to know how many people make note of the billboard and, obviously, a billboard has limited-to-zero interactivity.

Impressions for a Tweet Chat are much the same. They are the number of potential viewers of all the tweets. How many actually read it? How many actually click on a link? Your guess is as good as mine. But, the opportunity for direct interaction and connection is there!

Then there are the so-called Twitter Parties. They are one-time events that brands have sort of embraced. They require excessive promotion since they do not have a built-in audience or “time-slot.” They also require incentives to attend – usually in the form of arbitrary giveaways. They work, but they miss the opportunity that an established Tweet Chat (NOT Party) offers.

I also rail against the established Twitter Party giveaway method. Who “wins” the giveaways at most of these parties and how do they win? It’s the lotto-method; completely by luck and arbitrary.

When #DadChat does a giveaway, I ask the participants to participate. I ask a question about the brand/product/book/person. The first correct answer wins. This brings numerous participants directly to the website of the sponsor/book/product. If they don’t “get it” right away, I offer a hint which is simply the link to the sponsor/book/product/person. This is interactivity. This is also fun.

#DadChat, October 13, 2012

The big difference that a Tweet Chat offers is that the particpant CAN click on a link. They can get to a company rep directly if a rep is present. They can save it, write it down, etc. It’s DIRECT. And, #DadChat provides a transcript so anyone can go back later to get any information or connections they missed.

Finally, for me and #DadChat, my ONLY interest in sponsors is when they fit into our community organically. And, when their participation is only tangentially the topic. So, when the afore-mentioned ski resort sponsors #DadChat, our topic will NOT be about their resort. It will be about winter-vacations or winter sports. We’ll give away ski passes or something else that the resort will provide, but the chat will be open and roam around the  topic. The resort is organic to the chat. The chat is the motivator and leader; not the sponsor. People then respect the chat AND the sponsor vs. it being shoved in their faces!

#DadChat, December 22, 2012

I believe with all my heart and soul, that advertising/sponsoring Tweet Chats will be the next big thing in marketing. It simply is too good. But, it is true.

Happy New Year everyone. How about skipping that $5 Starbucks latte and splurging $2.99 (for the Kindle on Amazon) or $2.79 for the PDF of my new e-book? Enjoy my own informercial for it! This e-book is really a virtual journey. It’s filled with 100 photos, 7 original videos, and links to many of the stops on the trip. Click on the book cover image below to find your purchase options:

  • Ted Rubin

    Nice summary Bruce. Brings a lot of focus to what can be accomplished. 

    • Bruce Sallan

      Truly, I was thinking of you @twitter-16261638:disqus when writing this! We should do more together – and we should go skiing!

  • EB

    I knew that chats, especially #DadChat have a ridiculous reach but when you put numbers on it like that, it really is mind blowing that we don’t see even more of these, especially when you talk about how brands are using social media. Organic is the key – those relationships them transcend the Internet. I believe that’s what our friend Ted Rubin calls Return on Relationships (RonR if you’re fancy)!

    • Bruce Sallan

       @EButtsCPA:twitter – What most people don’t realize is that @MackCollier:twitter @JessicaNorthey:twitter @DAbneyPorte:twitter @JodiOkun:twitter  @Kilby76:twitter and other great Chat founders work their asses off! It’s not easy to build a following, keep it entertaining, secure cool guests and co-hosts, and engage in a positive manner week in and week out! Also, there are weeks when I, at least, want to throw in the towel because a guest is lousy, fewer people than usual show up, the flow is not as good as I want, etc. That was especially true the first few months of #DadChat for me. Now, it has a life its own – but it was pulling teeth in the beginning.

  • David Weber

    The numbers are astonishing. I would not have imagined that they would be so high.  I am not up to speed on the latest applications of social media to the task of brands and branding, and indeed, how you are using the term “brands” above…so what appears below may not be on target as the basis of reflection. 

    Something I am curious about would be what kind of brands may and may not necessarily call for extended interaction.  Let’s consider two “brands” that I happen to have encountered in the past 3-4 days: Thomas Ricks (I received his new book “The Generals” as a Christmas gift from my mother), the well-known and successful journalist and author; and Rick Steves, the travel author and travel show host (my friend received a set of Steves’s travel books from her daughter for Christmas). 

    I started “The Generals” a couple of days ago.  Very compelling information.  I can imagine that if Ricks were to host a Twitter chat or some other event in social media in the immediate future about material in “The Generals”, I would be in principle willing to participate.  But after I’ve finished the book, I don’t know how much interactivity with Ricks would be a draw for me. I have read two other books of his; I have enjoyed seeing him on cable t.v. interviews and current-events panel discussion; I respect him highly.  The information he pacakages and generates would be something I’d just as soon consume by reading current commentaries he publishes, and future writings.

    My friend and I were looking through Steves’s books tonight.  Both of us were wondering aloud about a variety of travel-oriented questions the books were generating. If Steves were to have an interactive chat tomorrow, say, we would perhaps want to participate and ask those questions.  As the time unfolds prior to our anticipated trips (a month in Europe in May and early June, and then, starting in Jan. 2014, six months in Wales), we would probably feel ongoing visits to his blog, consultations of his “graffitti wall” (i.e., a webpage onto which readers load notes and travel tips for other readers) and participations in chats to be beneficial.  This would spread out the interactivity across into and beyond Jan. ’14. 

    In contrast, Ricks would be someone in social media I would seek out only for a period of days or weeks around the last book of his I read, or a commentary or interview I may come across haphazardly, or if I read an article or blog post at his website that maybe elicited an interest in further interactivity.

    But is any of the latter “bad”?  Is Ricks letting himself down by not making himself more accessible to social media encounters?  He is a “serious” author and commentator on sociopolitical and military issues…would he possibly be reducing or limiting his gravitas by using social media to increase the profile of the Ricks brand?

    In contrast, Steves almost by definition is all about getting out chunks of “useful” or “timely” information out to his readers and audiences, who consume that information for practical reasons, or seek to use it.  Thomas Ricks’s information, on the other hand, is not that which one can apply, except in deepening one’s understanding, and thereby responding thoughtfully to, the socipolitical or military conditions and phenomena he writes about.  It would seem that branding and the use of social media to accomplish it is much more compelling for Steves than for Ricks.

    I’m not making an argument for any of this…I’m simply wondering, because I am not knowledgeable about the socialmediasphere.

    • Bruce Sallan

      Thx David. I think people LOVE to interact with authors, especially those they like whether they’ve finished a new book or not. What Tweet Chats offer is amazing access and possible interaction that no other form of marketing has ever done quite as well and universally. It’s simply inevitable that THEY will come aboard and Tweet Chats become a regular staple of their marketing/advertising budgets!

  • Nick Kellet

    Impressive numbers. 

    I’m just not so sold on impressions, but I think it’s hard to fight.

    I got to thinking that passion should be the metric of the future, but Madison Avenue is very attached to impressions. 

    Impression are like the biggest number imaginable. That’s what keeps us honest. Impressions are everyone’s biggest guess. It sure makes us feel good.

    With so much media and conten, our attention is so thinly divided.

    I think the value proposition for impression is great when it’s a steady state set of impressions over time and you sure manage that. In that sense I totally buy into the value of the #dadchat brand.

    I agree sponsoring chats is a smart move and @mackcollier:disqus does an awesome job with #blogchat.

    Congrats on the numbers. Here’s to your sponsor signups! I toast you.

    I love the way @leolaporte:twitter  places adverts in his TWIT podcasts. I think that’s the way of the future. Did you see his keynote at #NMX. 

    Both Shanni Higgins @technorati:twitter  and @scottmonty:twitter  both proved just how much impressions and big numbers still matter.

    • Bruce Sallan

      @NickKellet:twitter – I fully agree that the reliance on “Impressions” is very misleading. What I believe distinguishes #DadChat is our great community, the variety of topics and guests (big name co-hosts/guests) and the demographic of our chat – which is THE demo most brands, marketers, and advertisers seek. What blows my mind is how set in the OLD ways so many in Old AND New media/marketing are! I know they will catch up, but the value of a #DadChat sponsorship is so much greater than its cost in comparison to almost ANY other form of advertising/marketing!

      I love that we “know” each other now, Nick – so seeing this from you just adds to its credibility. Thanks much for sharing and I’ll check out the things you mentioned in your comment!

      BTW, if “Passion” were the metric, I’d me the richest man on earth! LOL…

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