Our Take on Twitter Advertising

by Jon Kenney on May 16, 2011

in Media,Social Media

Post image for Our Take on Twitter Advertising

We recently joined the Twitter advertising beta program with a client of ours to get a sense of performance as well as overall functionality, reporting and analytics capabilities.

My overall impression is positive, but I definitely think that there is much room for improvement. Twitter advertising offers three options: Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts and Promoted Trends. Currently, we are working exclusively with the Promoted Accounts portion of the program.

Initial set up for the campaign is straight forward and fairly intuitive. Anyone with Adwords experience, or experience using any automated bid-priced system, shouldn’t have a hard time getting set up on Twitter. It’s important to pay attention to the set up, as your ability to report back and make optimizations will depend on the way you organize your campaign –  Twitter won’t tell you which keywords are converting best, so you’ll have to set up separate campaigns for your various keyword groups if you want to know which ones are converting at the highest rate.

One set back is that you are unable to set a budget per campaign as it relates to your overall budget. In other words, every campaign you set up will have your maximum budget assigned to it, so monitoring keyword bid price and daily spend caps is a must if you are concerned about keeping an evenly distributed budget over a period of time. Also you cannot break out spend over time in reporting other than your overall campaign-to-date spend per campaign you create. You can’t even see what your daily cost-per-event is. This makes it difficult to analyze the data by a week-over-week period, or compare how your optimizations to bid prices or daily spend caps are working. Hopefully a more robust spend report is in the works.

Not all the reporting is lacking, however. Under the Promoted Accounts analytics feature, you are able to choose preset time periods that will show you how your campaigns are doing as far as impressions, profile views and follows. This is accompanied by a graph, which gives a good visual representation of performance and clearly shows any dips or spikes in traffic that can easily be correlated to optimizations, if you are keeping track. Again, the one thing lacking would be tying in the cost-per-action to give a complete picture of what is going on.

So is Twitter Ads beta working? I would definitely say yes. We saw a huge spike in new followers within the first few days of the campaign. Now, a month and a half into the campaign, the client has had a 100.6% increase in followers!

If you take a look at the graph above, you’ll see that our client had 3700 followers right before the April 1st launch of their Twitter Advertising campaign. Note the steep spike in followers directly after launch. They currently have 7424 followers – a month and a half after launch.

One important feature of the beta program is that all accounts that advertise on Twitter automatically become “verified” accounts - a  feature that up until this point has been very difficult to get except for celebrities who have lots of people using their names for phony accounts. Verified accounts are denoted by the blue check mark that appears next to the Twitter name.

As with any new platform, there are going to be bugs, limited functionality, and features that will soon be obsolete. But that is all part of a beta program and the steps necessary to building a great ad platform. I think Twitter is well on its way, and I’m excited to be able to have our clients be a part of something I feel will only continue to get better and add more value to advertising in the social space.

Photo by Rosaura Ochoa

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Morgan Siem May 16, 2011 at 10:18 am

I think it’s cool to see the increasing overlap between paid media and social media. Working on this beta test has been really interesting for me, because I finally get access to Twitter’s analytics, which before now were a mystery.

The number one feature that I’m waiting for with Twitter Ads is for the ability to geo-target. I want to be able to limit the states in which the ads appear based on clients’ target audiences.

I’m also really eager to try out a Promoted Trends campaign. There’s a lot of potential with those to get creative and have some fun with it! It’s also a great tool to have in your back pocket as part of a crisis management strategy.

Great post, Jon. Thanks for the awesome stats!

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Michael Hubbard Michael Hubbard May 16, 2011 at 10:34 am

I know this particular client was about generating followers to showcase their thought-leadership and extend their brand reach – but for our other DR clients, does Twitter analytics/reporting integrate at all with other analytics packages, or are there API’s available for back-end integration? Again – I know this campaign was based on followers, but so many clients just want to see ROI from social media, so wondering if Twitter is setting it up for this, or if you feel like they’ve built their advertising around a brand play?

Thanks for the write up Jon – great info!

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Jon Kenney May 16, 2011 at 10:53 am

I will have to check and see if there is any integration with Twitter and other analytics packages, and for the most part, the Twitter platform is geared towards brand reach and brand interaction however there still is a DR aspect that can be used. You are able to link to outside landing pages with Promoted Tweets so with that particular functionality you would be able to track ROI for any DR clients that are interested in the platform. In that respect Twitter gives you a great opportunity to extend your brand to new customers, interact with current customers, and provide trackable offers, sales or promotions. Granted the back end data wouldn’t be tied neatly together all within the Twitter platform, but with a little work you can measure your DR efforts through Twitter.

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Dan London May 16, 2011 at 10:41 am

I’m a part of the Beta as well.

A couple of my thoughts:

-Geo-targeting was released a few weeks in and has really helped reduce the # of pure garbage followers.
-Keep the targeting as fine tuned as possible and be sure to check the data daily.

I’m curious to know if with that increase in followers, has the client seen an increase in engagement on Twitter?

Reply

Jon Kenney May 16, 2011 at 11:08 am

Hey Dan, initially I would have to say yes but I do want to preface that by saying I am making that statement based off of the Timeline Activity reporting available on the Twitter Ads platform. As you know, this only allows you to look back at the last 31 days of tweets. In doing so, we can see user engagement and also have some indication of how the clients tweets measure up over all due to the reporting feature that shows how certain tweets perform against your clients “average”. An example of this would be a tweet the client sent out on the 10th of this month that reached 14x the users that our clients normal tweet does. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to look back at say, the last 60 days and measure user interaction during the time period before the beta program and measure against the current efforts.

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