A little over a month ago, Twitter's 3rd “promoted products” installment rolled out with Promoted Accounts. Here’s the 411 on how promoted Tweets, Trends, and Accounts work.
A Promoted Tweet is an actual tweet. It’s one that just gets a little help by making it the first search result on search.twitter.com when there’s keyword relevancy. (The promoted tweet no longer has to contain the actual keyword searched on.)
It works very similar to Google Adwords in that you can bid, via an auction model, (up to 1000) keywords for a given campaign and can set & manage your budget plus optimize your campaign in real-time.
An advertiser can have multiple promoted tweets in rotation and optimize against the best performing based on engagement. And with the recent twitter.com redesign, promoted tweets can take advantage of the new multimedia “preview pane” so that links to videos or photos are instantly displayed on click. This works great for a movie that’s premiering to showcase its trailer.
Promoted Tweets are priced at a cost-per-engagement with “engagement” being defined as four interactions with the tweet – If I:
- click it
- favorite it
- retweet it
- @reply it
Twitter is reporting an engagement rate (so far) between 3-8% of impressions.
Hootsuite users are already seeing a beta test of relevant promoted tweets appearing “in-stream” based on what you’re tweeting about. Twitter has plans to roll this out to twitter.com’s timeline as well as other 3rd party clients like Tweetdeck sometime in Q1.
If you’re a media planner, the best analogy is that a Promoted Trend is like a roadblock. For 24 hours, a keyword of your choice (up to 17 characters) appears at the top of Twitter’s trending topics list.
As a brand, you are not sponsoring an existing trending topic but instead simply buying a word, so out of the gate, it’s not a trending topic (but could turn into one if there’s enough engagement) – although Target had the foresight to reserve #blackfriday last Friday which, inherently, has a lot of discussion around it.
A promoted trend clicks-thru to a promoted tweet and its relevant search results page. The promoted tweet remains at the top of this page throughout the 24 hour period.
Promoted Trends are a 1-day flat rate. You can expect to pay upwards of 6 figures for a promoted trend (depending on how savvy a negotiator your media buyer is). And since inventory is limited to only 365 slots, as demand increases, you can most definitely expect prices to increase (as did YouTube Homepage Mastheads and Facebook Reachblocks).
Since the promoted trend appears on twitter.com’s homepage, impressions (exposure to the trend) are high – on average about 65 million. But currently, average click thru rates are about the same as a standard banner ad at .05%. I’m curious to learn whether or not the non-promoted trends (a.k.a. the real trends) garner a higher or lower average CTR.
In Q1, Twitter hopes to rollout demographic and geographic targeting with promoted trends as currently a promoted trend is “one size fits all.”
Promoted Accounts are the newest addition to Twitter’s promoted product family and are only recommended if the brand/account is relevant to you.
When you set up your brand’s twitter account to be promoted, you have the option to additionally add in keyword “interests”. Think of it as meta data attached to your account that helps describe what your brand is about and helps increase its relevancy.
Promoted Accounts are priced at a cost-per-follower. In effect, Twitter is sort of putting a value on a follower. Currently the cost is $1/follower but Twitter might increase that to $2-3/follower going into 2011.
Since this just launched, it’s too early to tell how this is performing but Twitter has seen some brands grow by 50k-100k followers in about a month while running as a promoted account.
Although 20% of traffic to twitter.com comes from a mobile device, Twitter’s promoted products (tweets, trends, and accounts) will be enabled on Twitter’s mobile site next year (targeting 1st quarter).
Disruptive vs. Receptive
In the end, it’s too early to tell how Twitter’s promoted products will fare both for Twitter itself as well as brands advertising on it. But its strength lies in how advertising is embedded into the existing Twitter experience which mitigates disruption and potentially increases receptivity. This makes it an elegant and smart approach to monetizing the site.
Now is a good time for brands to test and learn with Twitter advertising while rates are still relatively low and early learnings can give your brand a competitive edge on the paid side of the platform. Just be sure that any test aligns to your business and marketing objectives.
Healther Glasgow (Assistant Media Planner) also contributed to this post.