If you’re a frequent Twitter user, you’ve probably noticed the tweets of people or organizations that you don’t follow have started showing up in your feed along with a little orange box. Twitter is now offering forms of advertising to companies looking to capitalize on the search-engine-like capabilities of the social media platform: promoted tweets, accounts, and trends.
According to Twitter’s website, promoted tweets are the space purchased by advertisers to show up on the Twitter feed of a certain group of people characterized by the people users follows and their interests. Promoted accounts are similar except they show up in the “Who to Follow” box, and promoted trends appear in the trend box underneath that. Promoted tweets and trends are currently in the Beta stage, while promoted accounts are available.
These forms of social media advertisements work on a cost-per-engagement basis in which a company advertising through a promoted tweet pays their bid price every time a Twitter user clicks on, retweets, replies to, or favorites your tweet. Bid prices can range based on the popularity of your topic and are available in Twitter search where they are targeted toward keywords. Promoted accounts are charged on a cost-per-follow basis, meaning the bid price is charged each time a Twitter user follows that account. Promoted trends are offered on a flat daily fee usually costing tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, but your trend is posted at the top of each logged-in Twitter user’s Trend list, regardless of location.
The high cost of advertising on Twitter has turned off many potential clients including HBO and Toyota according to an article on VentureBeat.com. However, the article’s author, Tom Cheredar, speculates that this high cost is due to the fact that, “Unlike search engine marketing, those who advertise their message with Twitter have a better chance of creating a long-term relationship with consumers.”
The newest addition to Twitter’s list of promoted content includes an enhanced profile page to allow for more company brand identity than usually allowed on a typical Twitter profile including a header image (similar to Facebook’s new Timeline cover photo), featured content including automatically expanding videos in promoted tweets, and a matching mobile version of your profile.
While Twitter advertising may help companies target customers who are more likely to be loyal, does the high cost of their promoted options give advertisers a good return on investment (ROI)? The Twitter website offers case studies of companies who have taken advantage of the promoted offerings and used them to their full potential. One men’s apparel company, Bonobos, offered a sale on a style of pants only through Twitter, a “Twixclusive.” Over 80 people retweeted the offer in about 8 minutes, and the company reported a 1200% ROI in 24 hours. The case study also reports that, for Bonobos, it was 13 times more cost-effective to get new customers from Twitter than any other marketing approach.
While this case study is obviously meant to highlight the best case scenario, it shows the potential that Twitter’s promoted advertising offers companies. If your organization is looking into investing a large amount into social media advertising like that offered though Twitter, it’s best to thoroughly research your social media campaign.