IEEE Spends INR 6,11,900\- A Day For Tweets?

Disclaimer: I have been active IEEE volunteer for the past 6 years – 3 years as a student and presently as a professional member. Currently, also an Executive Committee member of IEEE Kerala Section, IEEE Kochi Subsection and IEEE Kerala Young Professionals.

So, this obviously means I am not “anti-IEEE”. The following blog post is written based on my observations. It has nothing to do with whether I am an IEEE volunteer or not. Just the fact that being an active volunteer when I saw this, it did disturb me.

A man’s got to say what a man’s got to say.

IEEE is a not-for-profit organization. Even the footer of its website specifies that. It carries out various educational, technological and humanitarian activities around the globe, which is exactly the reason I have been an ardent volunteer in it all these years. And yes, it has helped me grow professionally too.

Knowing the fact that its a “not-for-profit” organization, today, when I saw a Promoted Tweet by IEEE Xplore, I was mind blown.

IEEE Promoted Tweet

 

For those of you, who aren’t fervid followers of Social Media, here’s why I was astonished –

A promoted tweet usually costs of the range 20 cents – $5 per engagement, with an outlay of minimum $10,000. To put it simpler, every engagement (Follow, Reply, Favorite, ReTweet) of a Promoted Tweet costs of the range INR 12.24 – INR 305.95 (As per today’s Dollar-Rupee Conversion), with a minimum spend of INR¬†6,11,900\- ($10,000) required to start the Ad Campaign.

Twitter follows a PPF (Pay Per Follow) Model of advertising and hence the rates are determined based on engagement with the tweet.

 

IEEE Xplore Promoted Tweet

 

Now calculate this – IEEE Xplore has 132,619 followers on Twitter (as per today’s numbers). Even if half of them had interacted with the promoted tweet at the least possible Ad rate, the $10,000 would be used up in a day! And that is not counting the fact that promoted tweets are visible to everyone who is targeted – not just direct followers of IEEE Xplore (I don’t follow IEEE Xplore on Twitter).

(For more details on Promoted Tweets and its functioning, refer articles here, here and here)

Basic mathematics plus online user behaviour would definitely suggest a 5 figure number in dollars be spent up in just hours.

And why is this troubling me? Well, as I mentioned before, IEEE is a “not-for-profit” organization with high standards – they are the people who set standards. For such an organization, spending such a huge amount over something that so irrelevant to what they do, comes up as pure nonsense to me.

Yes, I understand their income is in Billions and a couple of tens of thousand dollars wouldn’t matter anything. But, if you ask me from an ethical standpoint, I’ll have to raise an eyebrow. A technical professional body doesn’t stand to gain anything more than a few Twitter followers and increase in brand reach by spending this mountain of an amount.

(Update1: One more point to add – The advertising would have made more sense if the activity of the account was interactive and engaging instead of broadcasting. With the present scope of activity, I really doubt the actual ROI (Return-on-Investment) on the expense)

(Update2: Following is the http://fakers.statuspeople.com report of number of fake and inactive followers for IEEEXplore Twitter Account. Sadly, this solidifies my reasoning on why the money spent on Ads was actually a waste)

IEEE Xplore Twitter Fake Follower Report

I’ll be very happy if someone can prove me wrong on this finding or provide a suitable explanation to this activity. But, for now, as a passionate IEEE Volunteer, I am disappointed!

– Vijay S Paul