Twitter Advertising, Part 1: Understanding the Options Tutorial

1.2 Introduction

Hi, I'm Jennifer Evans Cario, president of SugarSpun Marketing, author of Pinterest Marketing: An Hour a Day, and the Social Media Faculty Chair at Market Motive. Thank you so much for joining me for part 1 in this series on Twitter Advertising.

1.3 Twitter Advertising Space

Twitter opens up the door for advertisers to get their message in front of people who are using this service as a way to share links, share ideas, think out loud, and comment on the things that are going on in their everyday lives. The opportunity for companies to come in and be able to target their messages to specific audiences that are extremely active on Twitter is something that many companies can't afford to bypass anymore. When we look at some of the advertising potential for Twitter, the numbers tend to speak for themselves. 74% of Twitter users follow SMBs in order to receive product updates. 47% of the people who follow big brands are more likely to visit that brand's website. 72% of users who follow a brand are actually more likely to purchase a product from it. Well, 12% equals the average increase of in-store sales from users who are engaged with promoted or advertised Tweets. 29% is the offline sales increase that's attributed to the impact of promoted tweets. So when we look at the numbers, it becomes clear that not only are consumers going to Twitter in order to better engage with companies of all sizes, but we're actually seeing concrete evidence that the brands and the companies that take the time to add an advertising component to that message, tend to see even stronger results coming in.

1.4 Understanding Twitter Ads

Now during this series, we'll be talking about the three primary types of Twitter ads. There's the idea of Promoted Accounts, the idea of Promoted Tweets, and there's also the idea of Promoted Trends. Now, well ultimately what it comes down to with Twitter is that your budget and the size of your company is going to, on some level, define your options. So if you're in the Enterprise Level and you are spending over $5,000 a month, you're going to have access to the full suite of options in Twitter. You can do Promoted Accounts, you can do Promoted Tweets, and you can do what's called Promoted Trends. If on the other hand, you're in the SMB field and you're paying less than $5,000 a month, you're going to have slight limitations in that you don't have Promoted Trends available to you. But you do have Promoted Accounts and Promoted Tweets available.

1.5 Understanding Promoted Accounts

The first type of advertising opportunity we'll go over is the idea of promoted accounts. So to understand promoted accounts, it's important to understand that Twitter tends to add suggestions of who to follow to both the mobile version and the web versions of Twitter. So it's Twitter's sort of way of saying, well based on who you follow, we know that similar people also tend to follow this other brand. And it sort of helps everyone find some new exposure and find, you know, new people to connect with. So what Twitter allows you to do with promoted accounts is to basically insert yourself into that list of suggestions and to have some targeting setup to try and get yourself in front of the types of people that are likely to engage with you. So what this provides is an opportunity for companies of all size to boost their exposure for own forms of media by purchasing additional targeted followers. You can go in and target based on interest, based on geography, even based on gender to make sure you're getting in front of the people that are most likely to engage with you. Now the great thing about promoted accounts is you're only paying for the followers that your campaign actually creates. So you're getting some potential exposure, you're getting some potential branding. But again, unless someone actually follows your account, Twitter isn't going to charge you for anything.

1.6 Reasons for Promoted Accounts

So looking at some of the reasons why you might want to use promoted accounts, there's a lot of different options. Sometimes it's simply about building a larger audience base, by targeting like-minded followers. So, we know if people like cotton candy, there's probably also a good chance they're going to like giant lollipops. And the same works in the business world. If people like companies that are similar in nature to you, or if there are companies or brands that are complimentary to yours, then targeting the followers of those brands can be a great way to get exposure to yours as well. Now sometimes it's about building a base of followers for a local event or maybe for a retail brick and mortar store. So this is where we take A concept or an idea in a geographical radius and we say okay we're the promoters of the Dirty Dash, which is sort of a mud based fun run. Then we might want to look for people in the Pittsburg P.A. area that already follow the Filthy Mud Run, or Muck Fest, or Dirty Girl, or any of a number of similar races that tend to happen each year. By doing that and by targeting the followers of those other brands we get the opportunity to get our account and notice of us in front of those same people. Now sometimes it's also about boosting awareness before or after a major media push. Now, maybe this is a planned form of media. Maybe this is some type of viral component that you're looking to build off of. A great example of this is what happened in late 2013 and early 2014 with Arby's, and Pharrell. Those of you who know the happy song from Dispicable Me two, probably recognize Pharrell, even if you're not a fan of his general type of music. So, during the Grammy's, he came out wearing a hat that looked very, very similar to the old style Arby's logo, and, in fact, tons of people started to comment on that on Twitter, and Arby's hopped on the bandwagon, and made the joke of, hey, can we have our hat back? Well what ended happening after the Grammy's, is he actually put the hat up for sale on Ebay in order to raise money for one of the charities he helps with. Well, Arby's being very intelligent, bought the hat and the auction happened to close right during the lead up to the Oscars on Oscar night, which Pharrel Williams was performing at. So it gave them a great opportunity to follow up. Now, Arby's being very smart, could have gone in and done targeting of anyone who was a fan of this artist ahead of time, or a fan of the movie ahead of time, in order to build that base to have increased exposure for the fact that they did actually buy the hat. Now, even beyond that, sometimes it's about building a foundation for new offshoot accounts. If you're a university or maybe a major media outlet and you're looking at breaking your accounts up into smaller ones that are maybe a little more granular or a little more targeted, again, this can be a great way to take your existing base and get them exposure of what you're putting out there. Now, on average, the general cost for purchased followers from promoted accounts tends to be around $3 a follower, give or take a little bit.

1.7 Understanding Promoted Tweets

The second type of Twitter advertising that we're going to look at is the idea of promoted tweets. And basically what a promoted tweet does, is it takes a regular style tweet that you might send out through your account, and it guarantees that you're going to get exposure and that you're going to get in front of people. Pretty much the only true difference between a promoted tweet and a regular tweet is that it has a little promoted by tag next to it. Now, the great thing about this is it gives you the opportunity to get your message in front of people no matter when they log in. So it doesn't have the same time constraints that more organic forms of tweets going out from your account are going to have. Again, it gives you the opportunity to target by interest, by geography, or by gender. And it's also going to come back to that idea that you're only paying when you get the engagement. So it's going to depend on people replying, or retweeting, or favoriting, or you know, taking some form of action with your tweet, in order for Twitter to turn around and charge you for that activity.

1.8 Reasons for Promoted Tweets

So some of the reasons that you might look at using promoted tweets. Sometimes it's about pushing a short term offer to targeted users for that nice, quick activity bump. This is something that American Apparel has done very successfully over time that sort of mimics the early day e-commerce success that Dell had with Twitter. So the idea here is that they'll put on what they call flash sales where they will target their target audience that already follows them on American Apparel and they'll push these tweets out and promote them, and it's a very, very short term sale. Again, they call it a flash sale. Tends to last for a day, sometimes a matter of hours. And according to American Apparel, they've pulled as much as 50,000 in revenue from a single flash sale that they've put up and promoted on Twitter. Now, sometimes it's also about getting an extra boost on Twitter card enabled posts. And this is something that we'll dig a little deeper into later on in the series but, taking that idea that using Twitter cards, you can now add a little bit more form of multimedia or interactivity to your tweets. And again, it's a great opportunity to push those a little harder to make sure you're getting them in front of the people that you want to see them. The key idea here is that you can get exposure no matter when someone logs in. And this has always been one of the biggest challenges of Twitter, is that the conversation moves so fast, that if someone flips over to check their email, or gets up to go get a cup of coffee, there's a very good chance that their going to miss your message. But when you're using promoted tweets, what's going to happen is that message will get inserted in to their stream whenever they happen to come back to it. So if you look at the timestamps to see that this was 30 minutes ago and this other one was 30 minutes ago and you find that this one was two hours ago, and sometimes, it will be a day ago or even two days ago, you quickly understand the value of how promoted tweets can guarantee that what you're trying to get in front of them will get in front of them whenever it is they happen to log in. And it's a really nice end run around some of the standard limitations of Twitter. Now, just like with promoted accounts, this is going to work on a bid-based system. And those bids tend to range from about $0.20 per activity up to about $5 per activity. So it's going to depend what vertical you're in. You know, what types of keywords, or interest-based targeting you're doing, all of those will factor into what your ultimate price is.

1.9 Understanding Promoted Trends

The only version of Twitter advertising that's limited to specific levels of advertisers is the concept of Promoted Trends. Think of Promoted Trends as Twitter's version of sort of billboard marketing or display advertising. Really getting one concept out in front of a lot of people in a certain amount of time. So what happens with promoted trends is that you'll see the trending topics in Twitter showing up on both mobile versions of the app and on web based version of Twitter, and it lets you know what topics people happen to be chatting about on any given day. Buying a promoted trend allows you to take your own marketing created hashtag and push it to the top of that list with a promoted tag in order to draw attention to either a conversation that might already be going on, or maybe conversation that you're trying to generate. So some of the options here are the fact that it shows up at the very top of that trends list, but that you can narrow it down by geographical regions. So maybe you want it to show up only in the United States, maybe you want it to show up with a certain region of the United States, or maybe you want to run it in several countries at the same time, based on what the event is. It's also a great option for pairing up with promoted tweets in order to push that broader impact. Having your promoted trend going out, and then laser targeting different versions of your promoted tweet that have that same hashtag involved. But that are marketed to different audiences can be a really good way to increase the impact of what you're doing. Now in terms of Promoted Trends, unlike the other forms of Twitter advertising, you're not paying on a per-action basis. You're paying a flat rate for daily exposure that's based on the geographical selection that you put together.

1.10 Reasons for Promoted Trends

Now some of the reasons you might consider using promoted trends are things like getting massive exposure for your topic while sparking conversation. So again, go back to the idea of, you know, a full page ad in the New York Times or, you know, a giant billboard, you know, right in a key location during rush hour traffic. It's to get exposure and get things in front of people. So if we take a look at some of the different promoted trends that happened from March to April of 2013, we see a couple different things show up. One, on the 31st of March we see that AMC purchased a promoted trend for the Walking Dead. Now, they did this because it was the season finale of season 3 of the Walking Dead. They knew there was already going to be conversation about this show. In fact, it's one of the most tweeted about shows on Twitter. But they also knew that by doing this they could get that extra boost and that extra exposure. There's also the opportunity to push conversation around time sensitive topics or issues. So if we look at the billion bracket trend that was being promoted in 2014, leading up to the NCAA Basketball Championships. Quicken Loans used the Billion Bracket promoted trend to push their Billion Bracket challenge that basically invited people to come in, build their bracket for the NCAA championships. And anyone who actually managed to build a perfect bracket was going to have the opportunity to win a billion dollars. It's a great way to generate a lot of conversation, get people talking about buildng the brackets, get people to come in and register. But again, it was a good example of a time sensitive promotion that needed that extra boost and that extra trending. Now, when we consider that it's Twitter's version of billboard advertising, sometimes it's not necessarily tied to what's going on at that particular point in time. For example Makers Mark did one during the 2012 election campaign that was simply called Cocktail Party. And they had a great series of web based video ads that went along with it that were James Carvel and Mary Madeline, a very politically diverse but well known couple. That would argue both sides of an issue, and then ultimately decide that the only party everyone could get behind was the cocktail party. So again, it was a great way to just get some of that additional promotion, especially for some type of video series, or some type of special campaign that you've put together, that you just want to get out in front of more people. Now ultimately the average cost of promoted trends was around 200,000 if you were going to limit to say, the US geographical population. It goes up a little bit more, can vary depending on where you're going. But again, this is the type of thing that you're looking at as a serious display advertising purchase, not as, you know, let's go out there and do it and pay just for the particular actions that come in.

1.11 Coming Up

Coming up in part two in this series, we'll take a look at the difference between the enterprise advertising systems and the SMB system. We'll also talk a little bit about Twitter ad targeting and some of the various options they give you to make sure you're getting in front of your target audience. And then we'll go through the idea of budgets and bidding as well. Thanks so much for joining me for part one in this series on Twitter advertising. I look forward to having you back for part two.

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  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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