Posted December 8, 2009 9:07 am by with 10 comments

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Dell logoIf you have spent any time around the social media circles discussing business success stories you have heard a lot about Dell. In fact, you have probably heard so much about Dell that you know that the have claimed to have generated around $3 million in sales through their Twitter efforts. Of course, this is of interest because measuring success in social media is one of the most important topics that the industry can take on.

Well, now Dell has updated their data so it’s time to spruce up those decks touting Dell’s social media success. Bloomberg reports

Dell Inc., relying on social- networking sites to drum up sales of personal computers, said its promotions on Twitter have helped generate more than $6.5 million in orders for PCs, accessories and software.

The number of users signing up to get Dell’s tweets has risen 23 percent in the past three months and now numbers 1.5 million, said Manish Mehta, vice president of Dell’s online unit. More than 100 employees send out the tweets — Twitter’s 140-character messages — over 35 different channels.

The $6.5 million number is what has been generated since the inception of these efforts about 2 years ago. So let’s face it, this is not the kind of number that makes everyone say “Wow, this is a runaway success!” since Dell is a $61 billion company. Regardless of that, Dell is committed.

“It’s a very vibrant channel for us and it’s growing aggressively,” Manish Mehta, VP of of Dell’s online unit said in an interview. “It’s not just our reach and growth that has progressed, it’s that it’s happening globally.”

Dell reaches Twitter users in 12 countries, including the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, China and Japan. Brazil’s Twitter users spent $800,000 in the past eight months, Mehta said.

Now, the industry will continue to show off Dell as an example of Twitter generating revenue and that’s fine. My question is to anyone at Dell: How much do these efforts that generates this revenue cost? What is your ROI based on the time investment of your staff etc? Once these numbers are revealed then there will really be something to talk about.

UPDATE: Article written by Manish Mehta of Dell over at the Huffington Post.

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  • Great that Dell sold $6.5mm but at what cost? By my count, for every dollar they invest in social media they lose three. See update here:

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  • Perhaps it has cost Dell a huge chunk of cash to get that $6.5M in revenue, but when competitors are engaging potential customers through social networking and other online promotions Dell had to do the same. Plus through the use of social networking/micro blogging Dell has been able to get valuable feedback which can be difficult measure ROI.

  • S. Neil Vineberg

    Interesting data. Great question. It’s really just a speck of dust right now, perhaps, but that’s not bad for one store – so to speak. The Dell outlet store that comes through Twitter. So what DOES it cost Dell, and lets also factor in that Dell has been learning heaps about tapping the Twitter pipeline and other Social media platforms. They have tons of proprietary data as well, one would assume. That’s got value. Maybe my former colleague Richard Binhammer, Dell’s social media maestro, can provide the magic numbers. Richard?

  • Dean

    ok, here we go again with social media enthusiasts throwing up a seemingly big number ($6.5M) and holding it as evidence as to why every compnay needs to be spending time, money and effort playing in the SM space. But can somebody check my math? The 6.5M came over 2 years. Let’s just say Dell’s overall revenue for the past 2 years is $120B in revenue. That means that Twitter has contributed to .005% of sales. And as mentioned, this doesn’t take into account the money invested into driving that $6.5M

    Only in today’s environment of social media’s irrational exuberance could this be a story. .005%??????? Seriously people, step away from the Social Media kool-aid and get some perspective.

  • I wonder about measurement methodology. Is the 6.5 million related only to purchases that are directly attributable to links from a twitter account to a landing page? How many other purchases were strongly influenced by the positive brand influence generated form these accounts? What about the myriad of Facebook accounts (and the fact that these accounts are highly integrated with the Twitter offerings?)
    .-= Sean McGinnis´s last blog ..November MPRE Scores Released! Tell Us How You Did! =-.

  • Hi Frank
    Sorry for the delay,just catching up on things. Wanted to drop by to let you and your readers/commenters know that we appreciate the perspectives and analysis.

    For additional information about the recently updated global sales via Twitter, such as the Brazil numbers over an 8 month period, you might check out the details outlined over at

    Think it is worth noting that we have often talked about “ROI” in social media in terms of various business objectives, not a single metric. Therefore, going down the singular path you ask about is not how we come at these things. Dell’s social media involvement is multi-pronged, measured in many ways and important and valued in furthering our own direct connections with customers. Of course, we have a view to achieving business success. I think the numbers demonstrate we are achieving it.

    For example, Sean McGinnis makes a good point about additional benefits to be considered in this equation. In this respect, our June 2009 update about Dell’s sales via Twitter noted that an additional $1 million dollars of purchases had bounced over to and were directly attributed to @delloutlet customers proceeding to buy new tech products over at In this most recent update we talked about some of the global aspects.

    All of these factors, and others are part of a larger perspective that is important to achieving Dell’s business objectives, success, and what you might consider an even larger “ROI” that includes, and goes beyond, Twitter sales.

  • Richard,

    Thanks for checking in with us.

    If you don’t mind me asking what are some of the specific business objectives that including in the ‘measurement’ of ROI.

    Thanks again and we hope your retail holiday season has been a strong one.
    .-= Frank Reed´s last blog ..Stop, Look and Listen to Social Media =-.

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