I tested a popular paid viral content service so you don’t have to

I bailed on day 2 of 7. Here’s why I won’t pay to promote content:

Kira Leigh
Apr 18, 2019 · 9 min read

I’m in love with content marketing.

But I have to be honest: I don’t offer the service very often, because immediate ROI on content is the ‘fake news’ that all businesses want to believe.

Let me tell you why this is fake news:

It takes a duck-ton of time to write, distribute, and establish your content.

If you can’t spend the cash (or don’t have the time) to get your content on top, the options look bleak.

You start to wonder if this can all be automated fairly inexpensively…and it can...

But does it work?

To answer this question, I thought I’d take a stab at using one of the paid content promotion platforms that Chris Von Wilpert suggested in his massive 48 Content Distribution Platforms article: Triberr.

I went into this experiment with three major KPIs in my mind:

  • My level of effort to get this to work.
  • How many clicks / shares the platform gave me on its own.
  • And could I verify that the platform created the clicks.

The Triberr Experiment only cost me $15 for a 7 day promotion.

On the morning of day 2 I bailed, and you’re going to want to know why so you can invest in content strategies that actually work.

Let’s see what went down:

What Triberr promises to do for your content:

Triberr enables professional bloggers and influencers to get more shares!

Alright buddy, I’m going to hold you to that. Pinky swear?

Here’s what Triberr’s features page says about their content marketing promotion platform:

  • Immediate ROI for your content
  • Leverage other people’s social audience
  • Cost effective method of promotion
  • Grow your social following and readership quickly
  • Increase reach and get more traffic
  • Test offers, drive sales, or get subscribers

Sounds dank, but I can’t actually find data on Triberr’s site to prove it.

Dave Schneider of NinjaOutreach has a striking article about how he used Triberr to reach 5 million people in two weeks.

However, there’s no proof in the article that Triberr boosted his traffic or really did anything meaningful outside of the platform itself.

(I can’t find the guy on Twitter, if you know his account, hit me up.)

Adam Connell of BloggingWizard also had this to say:

Triberr is the reason why after just 5 short months the average number of tweets on my posts are over 75 and go upto over 220.

But the only place I see this quote is on someone else’s blog. It also doesn’t talk-up the promotional option I chose.

5 months is also a lot of time for a Startup to invest in something, especially since they’d probably prefer using that time to perfect their product.

In any case, this isn’t giving me much confidence, right off the bat.

Here’s the article I promoted via Triberr:

It’s an op-ed piece on ‘older millennial tech nostalgia’.

I figured if Triberr could promote a whiny op-ed to its platform’s Tribes decently, then it could make anything work.

Triberr asked me to categorize the article so it could promote it effectively.

I plugged in technology as the main category, then culture, and millennials.

Millennial clickbait is always trendy.

After tagging, I started to wonder how Triberr’s ‘system’ figures out which Influencers or Tribes will promote my work.

“Are they using AI?” I asked myself while I ate a slice of pizza.

“I have absolutely no idea,” I thought as I contemplated playing an MMORPG instead of embarking on this bonkers investigative marketing adventure.

Day #1: Do the promised features stand up to scrutiny?

1.) Immediate ROI for your content: Questionable.

I’m undecided on this promised feature via Triberr.

After leaving the article to stew for a little bit, I received 1 share (dubious, see below) and 49 clicks, but the stats provided are nebulous.

I also cannot determine, at all, if any of this was Triberr’s doing.

More on that below (scroll please), because it’s frelling important to know if you get what you pay for from a content promotion service like this.

2.) Leveraging other people’s social audience: Debatable.

As a content marketer, I need much more data than a blank motherclucking map. Everyone needs more bloody data than this.

Who, what, when, where, why, and how are all questions we need actual answers to, in order to verify if our campaigns are doing jack sheit.

I do not see a lick of the data I need to confirm a successful paid content campaign via Triberr. This is concerning.

3.) Cost effective content promotion: ….Confirmed?

I will admit, this is incredibly cost effective. It’s way less costly than hiring me to do all of this for you, by hand.

But if the ROI ends up being nebulous, then I’ve already debunked points #1, #2, and #3 in terms of features.

$15 for a CrunchyRoll subscription at least gives me ROJ (return on joy), so that already has a higher return on investment.

Or I could’ve spent $15 on cash-shop items for Tree of Savior, which is a fun MMORPG you should totally play with me:

4.) Grow your social following and readership quickly: …um

Here’s where Triberr gets super-duper shady

I wanted to fully explore Triberr as much as possible during my 7 days, so I shared this on Pinterest via the platform, thinking it’d do something unique.

Big, big, big, big mistake.

Shortly after, the number of clicks went up, and I have 1 total share…that I actually shared by myself.

Why is Triberr counting my own shares as a share?

This is misleading metrics inflation.

My own shares should not be counting towards the success of this campaign, regardless if it’s from the platform’s system or not.

I started to get the sneaking suspicion that this was all actually my own doing.

So like any good marketer (or asshole), I tested the theory (that I already knew was fact).

Notice something off about these shortened links? You should.

Huh, shortened URL? What’s going on with that shortened URL?

Hmm, what’s up with this Facebook post, I wonder?

Wowee, this is so so so exciting and I’m pleasantly super-duper surprised.

And by that, I mean I’m not surprised at all, and it’s about as pleasant as stale cereal in off-brand soy milk.

Well, would you look at that? The numbers are going up each and every single time I post this on my socials via Triberr.

I’m creating metrics bloat with my own content campaign because each share is attached to a Triberr tracking URL. Even my own.

It seems wrong to include my own reposts, or clicks via my earned followers, but I’m unsure of how Triberr would exclude them.

I decided to check out my Medium stats for this article to confirm my totally unfounded and hypothetical theory that has no bearing in actual reality (/s).

The above are my Medium stats before refreshing the bloody Promotions page for the umpteen millionth time.

There are 2 more clicks. Let’s see if any of the numbers actually ‘moved’.

The numbers went up under RSS readers from 522 to 526, but I absolutely cannot tell if Triberr did this via the $15 I spent.

Realizing I’ve been spending all my time obsessively checking to see if Triberr was actually working, I decided to step away.

I had work to do, and there were clearly better uses for my time.

Day #1 Conclusion: Did Triberr hit my KPIs?

I have absolutely no idea if this is working at all.

And that’s a problem.

Because if I can’t figure out if this is working, small businesses are going to be more lost than I am.

I literally give 0 ducks if more prominent marketers get insane returns on this platform. I doubt they used the feature I paid for.

They most likely used Triberr for community building, which I suspect is its actual strength, and I’m not knocking it for that.

However, if I cannot verify my paid content promotion worked without my own input, I do not consider it trustworthy on that front, full stop.

Let’s check out day 2, because I really did not want to regret spending $15 on paid content promotion in favor of getting a CrunchyRoll subscription.

I torrent my anime like a renegade, or watch dubs on Funimation like a plebeian, thank you very much.

The final verdict: Does Triberr’s $15 paid content promotion service actually work?

That’s a ‘probably no’ from me, chief.

When I woke up, there were 62 clicks, that of which I could not verify the sources of.

I definitely skewed this by posting my own stuff via the platform (which wasn’t clear to me would effect my campaign until I actually did it), but assuming I got a few link clicks via Triberr itself, I should be able to confirm the difference, somewhere.

This should absolutely be transparent.

I have no idea who (if anyone) from Triberr clicked my stuff.

I’m not willing to give Triberr’s paid content promotions a whole-ass attempt at its full 7 days, simply because I can’t verify anything at all.

Triberr might be a stellar platform for people who want to sit there for 5 months joining tribes, but as far as paid content promotion services go, that’s a no from me, chief.

It might work if you don’t share your own posts from the platform, but I wouldn’t know that even if I tried again, because the stats don’t show me who’s clicking.

I could’ve effectively just copied the shortened URL and kept pinging it, and it’d count as campaign success. That doesn’t fly.

Especially when I know Reddit Ads work better for $15.

So what paid content promotion platforms can we actually trust with our moneyz?

I don’t know yet, but I’m going to find out.

Check back with me in about 35 days.

I’ll have examined Quuupromote with an actual marketing-related article, actual stats I know they provide (important!), and post out my findings on Medium.

If you have a paid content promotion platform you want me to test out (or tear apart), that’s not abhorrently expensive (I’m not shelling out $3k for some AI thing), let me know in the comments or hit me up on LinkedIn.

I hope it was helpful, because I’d rather you spend money on something that you can verify actually works, even if it’s not with my help. 👍

Kira Leigh is a snarky marketing nerd, writer, and artist. See her work her eand send her a message if you want to work together with her amazeballs team.

Special thanks to Renato P. dos Santos for his continued support.


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