Twitter, an online news and social networking site, is a place where people from across the world can communicate in short messages by tweeting out text, video, and pictures. Twitter has revamped the process of breaking news and provides access to users to connect with both small and mainstream influencers. What makes its so popular in todays day in age, is that twitter is a place for users to send out updates on their lives, news, ideas, opinions, and more on topics that apply to your own life. These updates will come from the accounts that you follow, and they can be friends, family, scholars, journalists, experts, brands, and whomever may interest you. A “kitchen-sink” of interaction, Twitter is a mixture of texting, blogging, influencing, and instant messaging, but with brief content and a wide audience. Communicating has never been simpler with Twitter, but can brands and advertisers utilize this social media platform as an advertising tool, and should they?
Across the globe, twitter has 336 million monthly active users, and 134 million daily active users, which would put it around the middle of the pack in most active users for a social media platform. In comparison, the juggernaut of Facebook is still riding #1 with 1.5 billion daily users, but there is no doubt that Twitter can still reach a large audience that varies in demographic across the globe. To break it down, Only Digital, an international creative digital agency, researched six key aspects of advertising on Twitter, to see how much value advertising through the platform there really is (summarized):
- Flexibility to fit your objectives: Depending on what you’re hoping to achieve, the different types of ads can yield different outcomes. Options to choose from include website clicks, follower campaign, engagement campaign, mobile app campaign, and lead generation cards. This range of options means you can be strategic in what you want to achieve with your campaign.
- Targeting: Like most social media platforms: Twitter’s targeting includes location, gender, language, device and platform, keyword, interests, followers, installed apps, and more.
- Pricing: Will depend on what your objective is and the type of campaign that you chose. Twitter.com says that the price of each billable action in your campaign is not a fixed rate, campaigns are an auction model. Targeting, creative, and bid you select in campaign set up determine how much each billable action costs.
- CTR & Engagement: Engagement levels are not the easiest metric to accurately gauge for Twitter Ads. There is a temptation to see likes and retweets as a solid indicator, but it’s often the case that users or bots share content which they have not actually read. Click through rates are a better indication of effectiveness, and studies have shown that Twitter Ads have higher average click-through rates than other ad channels. Promoted Tweets have shown average engagement rates of 1 to 3 percent, which is much higher than the average for traditional banner ads.
- Reach: Compared to Facebook the reach of Twitter Ads is weaker, but if you know your target audience and have a strong message then 310 million active users on Twitter is still a large audience to explore.
- Tracking and Analytics: Twitter offers a strong suite of inbuilt analytics that allow even the most inexperienced of advertisers to understand how their ads are performing and develop a better overview of their audience. Twitter Analytics provides an overview of the Top 10 interests of your followers, who else they follow, and a breakdown of their location. You can then measure your tweets’ success using several metrics – most importantly reach and engagement.
With the key aspects as to some value with twitter ads, which type of ads should you utilize and what objectives should you tie with the campaign for the best chance of success? First is Promoted Tweets. Promoted tweets are tweets that an advertiser pays to display to on a user’s timeline that is not currently following them. Other than the user’s timeline, their also appear on their profile, top of search results, and in the Twitter mobile and desktop apps.
Second, is Promoted Accounts. Promoted Accounts, also known as Followers Campaigns, give the brand/advertiser a chance to promote your own Twitter account to targeted Twitter users, who do not follow you, but may find your content appealing. These will appear on the intended user’s timeline, in the “Who to Follow” suggestions and search results and will include a follow button for a quick action.
Third, is Promoted Trends. The trending topics on Twitter are thee most talked about stories, people, events, and more across the entire globe. Promoted Trends will appear on the user’s timeline, explore tab, and the app, and allows you to promote a hashtag at the top of the “Trends for You” list. When Twitter users click on your Promoted Trend, they see an organic list of search results for the topic, with a Promoted tweet from you at the top of the list.
The fourth and final option is Automated Ads: Twitter Promote Mode. Twitter Promote Mode costs a flat rate of $99 per month, plus tax. Once you turn it on, your first 10 tweets each day are automatically promoted to your selected audience (as long as they make it past the Twitter quality filter). Now that you have the types of ads to chose from, the key to giving your campaign the best chance of a positive ROI is choosing the right objective to tie along with a target audience. Twitter gives you’re the following objectives to choose from:
- Awareness: You want the maximum number of people to see your Promoted tweet. You’re billed per 1,000 impressions.
- Tweet engagements: You want to maximize engagement with your Promoted tweets. You’re billed per engagement for all engagement types—retweets, replies, and so on—but only on the initial engagement with each user.
- Followers: You want to build your Twitter audience. You’re billed for each new follower, but not for other engagements, like retweets and likes.
- Website clicks or conversions: You want people to go to your website and act. You’re billed per click.
- App installs: You want people to install your app. You’re billed for each app install.
- App re-engagements: You want people who already have your app to open and use it. You’re billed for each app click.
- Promoted video views: You want people to watch your videos or GIFs. You’re billed for each video view.
- In-stream video views (pre-roll): You want to run a short video ad at the start of videos from Twitter’s premium content partners. You’re billed for each video view.
In the end, is advertising on Twitter smart for your business? The decision ultimately depends on your target audience and what you want to achieve with the campaign. There is value in Twitter advertising, particularly with mobile users, which is reported at 80% of the current daily users.
What can make it a less desirable option for most businesses is the high CPA, but Twitter requires you to monitor your budgets and analytics, and by continually adjusting your buy and changing formats you can find what works best and then be able to reduce that high CPA. Twitter is not going to be the most cost-effective option, when the leaders like Facebook & YouTube a cheaper option in some ways, but if you have a defined target audience, the right objective, and a strong offer for the consumer it helps to utilize twitter to capitalize on the size of the audience they offer.
If you’re unfamiliar with advertising on twitter, and want to give it a shot, the best decision would be to run a few small budget trial campaigns. See what works and what doesn’t, and once you find your sweet spot redirect your money into what is performing best to give your campaign the best chance of success.