With the latest API ads being announced last week, there has been much talk about the potential it offers to businesses. The potential to offer more diverse and sophisticated ads to users is enticing and if it goes well, it will provide a major boost to Twitter's finances as it increases revenue.
However, with all the commotion surrounding the API announcement, it's easy to forget about what's already there. It's funny to think that Twitter's promoted advertising has been around since 2010, yet for the most part, it's been successful in getting messages out there without impinging upon the overall experience. Provided you have the right content and a general strategy, Twitter's promoted advertisements can give your campaigns a welcome boost.
What Do You Want To Achieve?
There are three ways to advertise on Twitter and one is more suited to a particular role than others. The three ways to advertise are through Promoted Tweets, Accounts or Trends. If you're a smaller business, the first two methods would be more suited to you. Promoted Tweets will select a specific tweet from your feed and places it in your target demographic's news feed as well as search results. This method is suited if you're creating engaging content, either through favourites, retweets and replies, and you want to increase its reach.
On the other hand, Promoted Accounts means your profile appears on the 'Who to follow' section as well as search results (usually the fourth or fifth entry down). If you want to increase the number of followers your page has, this is the type of advertising you want to select. You can track how much your follower count grows through Twitter's analytics, showing you both organic followers and those who saw your Promoted Account.
Promoted Trends allows you to place your own hashtag or term in the trends list. This is best used if you're running a Twitter campaign and participation is central to its success. Each of the three should be done to complement an overall strategy as unengaging content won't magically become interesting if it's put in front of a large audience.
Manually Select Your Promoted Tweets
When you first start using Promoted Tweets, Twitter will set it up so that your most engaging tweet will be automatically selected as your Promoted Tweet. To an extent, this will work if you're looking to just increase followers and engagement. However, it's better to switch this to manual as soon as possible. The reason for this is that your most popular tweet mightn't be relevant to your advertising aims, otherwise you could be left with a random tweet that does nothing for your brand message.
Place Promoted Tweets At The Top Of Your Feed
We know what to expect when we visit a profile, but what some profiles don't properly take advantage of is the fact that you can place Promoted Tweets onto the top of your page. This way, when people visit your profile, the first thing they will see in your feed is the tweet you want.
The only potential flaw behind this is that not everyone will be visiting your profile page (it doesn't appear in the page preview), so this would require some experimentation on your part to see whether it's worth it or not.
Identify Popular Hashtags
One of the main draws of Promoted Tweets is that you can select keywords so that your content appears when it's searched, similar to Google Adwords. If you choose to place your Promoted Tweets in search, then you will need to decide which search results it appears in first.
Before you commit to a particular hashtag, you should check to see how popular it is first before you commit to it. Alongside using Twitter search, a service like Hashtags.org or Topsy can help you determine the type of keywords that you should target. In the case of Hashtags.org it will show you how a hashtag has performed. If it's dipped in usage, then it might be better to look for an alternative search result so you get the most out of it.
Also, if you want, you can take advantage of the hashtags that are currently trending, although you'll need to make sure that it's relevant to your profile and that you're not just highjacking it.
While it's obviously geared towards positive case studies, Twitter's own business page offers a great mixture of campaigns and ideas to take inspiration from. Here are a few choice examples:
- Porsche used Promoted Tweets and trends to build up hype surrounding the 2012 Porsche 911.
- Relaunching its Wispa Gold chocolate bar, Cadbury UK created a Promoted Trend which increased positive mentions of #Wispagold by 1,800% and drove a 25% engagement rate for its "Retweets for Sweets" promotion.
- Airbnb used Promoted Tweets to make its followers aware of a $200 discount it was offering.
- When promoting Ridley Scott's film Prometheus last year, Fox UK reached a broader audience by launching a Promoted Account campaign by targeting users like their followers in the UK.
- To create real-time awareness during the London 2012 games, the website Get Ahead of the Games (@GAOTG) launched a comprehensive series of Promoted Tweets in timelines and search which provided real-time information to commuters and spectators during the Games.
- Volkswagen Spain created an online game called Polowers (a mash-up of Polo and 'followers') where people could play using Twitter to enter for the chance to win a Polo. Because Twitter was required to enter, Promoted Tweets were used in timelines and search to raise awareness.
- Virgin America used Promoted Trends and tweets to promote low fares as well as offer part of the proceeds to charity Stand Up To Cancer.
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