A Thunderous Experiment: The results

Several weeks ago, I embarked on an experiment to see if Thunderclap was the powerful tool we all hope that it is or simply another wheel-spinning task that we do in the hopes of effectiveness. The campaign ran last week, so now it's time for results. This will be a long one so, get comfy.

A few things to note about Thunderclap:

1.The set-up to create a campaign is fairly easy, but it will take you a minute. I spent more time than I'd like to admit creating the image header for the campaign and trying to craft a 140 character message that would rock the world.

2. For a free account, there is a three day approval process before your Thunderclap will be live. So you can't wait until the last minute to create the campaign. Also, that approval process eats into the number of days you have to run the campaign. That said, I submitted my campaign at 2:48am and it was approved at 7:54am. So only five hours. It's possible, but don't bank on it.

3. Thunderclap is still new, but it's growing in popularity. This means more people are familiar with the set up and aren't as gun shy to link their social media accounts as they were when it first came out. The downside is more people are using it and you might find that your potential supporters are already getting sick of them.

Supporting the campaign
Because if you don't hit the minimum number of supporters, your campaign doesn't launch.

I launched the campaign on Wednesday, April 27th. My goal was to get to my 100 supporters as quickly as possible so I didn't have to spend the next 10 days fretting over the whole thing. In order to achieve this, I posted the campaign here and sent it to my newsletter followers. I also posted it on my Facebook fan page and solicited help from two FB groups I am a part of that allow for this type of promotion. Finally, I enlisted the help of a few friends to share the campaign on their own social media platforms to help me get a larger reach.
*A note here, please check the rules of any group you belong to before posting something like this. In other words, don't be that guy that ruins it for everyone.

Unfortunately, At 24 hours before Go Live, I only had 50 of my 100 needed supporters. Admittedly, I only promoted the campaign on the first and last day because that's when people take action. It's just human nature, so I didn't waste time tying to promote it the whole week. In all, I managed to get 103 supporters with

Going live wasn't everything I'd hoped for...
But it wasn't completely pointless

One hour after the message blitz I'd racked up 168 clicks on the blog site linked in the blitz and three pre-orders. After 24 hours, I had 299 blog site clicks and four pre-orders. As of today, there have been 333 blog clicks and six pre-orders.

So what does that mean?

For one, the campaign results are very short lived. I got over half of my results in the first hour of the campaign. This makes sense since some social media feeds (like Twitter and Tumblr) are very time sensitive. People might scroll through a bit of their feed, but that only takes them back maybe an hour or two. Facebook posts have more of a shelf life, however, not all posts are seen by an individuals fulls reach. So, even if they have 500 friends, their message is only ever sent to the feed of a fraction of those people.

Two, out of the thousands of people who saw the message and over 300 people who actually clicked on the link, only six eventually took the leap to press the buy button. For those of you who like math as much as me, that's only a 1.8% conversion rate. In marketing terms, that's not bad. In sales terms, it's not great.

For my time, Thunderclap wasn't worth it

That's probably not a popular opinion since the service is free and relatively easy. But I probably won't be doing another one any time soon.

First, it's been widely established that social media posts that contain images, and especially videos, do better than plain text posts. Unfortunately, Thunderclap doesn't allow for an image to be included in the posts. So, right from the get go, you know the post isn't going to be as effective as it could be via another delivery method.

Second, I spent entirely too much time setting up the campaign, monitoring the progress and trying to get people to sign up. I hate asking people to do these for one main reason, there is no return attached. Yes, there is an assumed future back scratching involved, but that's not what I'm talking about. The best marketing strategies don't ask for favors, they provide them. But the nature of Thunderclap forces us to ask others for help without offering anything in return.

Last, Thunderclap is a one shot option. The message goes out and then that's it. But marketing doesn't work that way. Most of us need to be exposed to a message multiple times (the general belief is 7!) before we commit to a purchase or action. Can you imagine running seven Thunderclap campaigns in quick succession?! Instead of spending so much time posting messages to get people to sign up, I could have been posting actual messages that were meant for my target audience. I could have reached out to my newsletter and FB fans. I could have created teaser images that were more likely to be shared and spread organically.

In the end, Thunderclap turned out to be a lot of time and effort for very little result that doesn't have the opportunity for residual activity. My numbers suggest that after a day, the campaign had exhausted its usefulness. That's too much give for not enough output for me.