On election night, the Washington Post bought one of Twitter's "promoted trends." When users clicked the trend, #Election, Post content got top billing. It marked the first time that a media company had purchased a promoted trend to promote their own material, and I thought it was a really interesting move.
The question that many news organizations have been wondering since then is, "So, did it work?" According to the Post's executive producer and head of digital news products Katharine Zaleski, the answer is yes, even though it didn't drive huge amounts of traffic to the paper's site.
"The reason we did it was not so much for the traffic. It was more to be front and center in the conversation," Zaleski told me this morning.
The metric Twitter's head of media partnerships Chloe Sladden gave was what they call engagement. Of all the people who clicked on the Election link from the Twitter.com homepage, 9% of them engaged with the Washington Post. That is to say, they clicked on a link, retweeted something, or followed the Post's Twitter feed.
It's the first time that a media company's done this sort of thing, so we don't have a good comparison, but Sladden said that the 9% engagement was on the "high-average" for other types of promoted trends like today's "McRib is back."