How do you advertise on Twitter with the best results? I recently had a chat with Linda Bolg, Head of Marketing at Audiense, an end-to-end marketing campaign management solution for Twitter.
Have a listen to the audio podcast embedded below, on iTunes or keep reading for an abridged transcript of our conversation. Questions by me, answers by Linda.
What makes Twitter a good place to reach your target audience?
There are really three very clear reasons why Twitter is a good place to reach a target audience.
The first one is definitely the data available or the insights. So it’s basically the sheer richness of the data that’s available to brands. So in contrast to Facebook, for example, which is a closed social network, Twitter is open. And most Twitter users have a public profile. So what they say is publicly available.
If you combine Twitter with a Twitter marketing platform, which offers really deep segmentation and targeting, you can find out things such as obviously target audience demographics, location and language, but also more importantly you can look at what they are talking about. And this makes Twitter very, very powerful because you can do segmentation based on the discussion people are having about your brand, about your competitor, about a particular topic, if you are doing real-time. So that makes it exciting and very different from Facebook or other platforms.
The other thing I would say is the real-time capabilities. Twitter is, without a doubt, one of the best real-time marketing platforms. So whether that’s through organic tweets or Twitter ads, it is also the best platform for aggregated real-time content. So if you’re doing Twitter ads and you choose to have your Twitter-promoted tweets to show up in your timeline and people are coming to Twitter to look for real-time events, that is incredibly powerful, too.
What are the best advertising options on Twitter?
I think it’s great that there are loads of different options because that provides flexibility. So the best advice I can give is to use the tailored audience campaign option. The tailored audience campaign setting within the Twitter advertising platform allows you to build your own bespoke lists that you want to create your campaign for. And if you are using a Twitter marketing platform where you can do the deep segmentation, you can create super tailored lists and then you can have really creative ads that fit really, really well with your niche lists. And that is how you get great ROI, really targeted campaigns.
The other thing I would say is to make sure that you’re using your objective-based campaigns right within the Twitter ads platform. There are a few different options, so really think about what it is that you’re trying to achieve. Is it driving leads? Is it driving website traffic? Is it downloads of something? Make sure you picked the right objective-based campaign within the platform.
Something which is fairly new to the platform is the user transaction values data. If you’re an e-commerce business and you’re selling products online, it’s similar to Google Analytics. So think about the goals in Google Analytics. It works the same way, but you can add the actual value to each goal so you can see the ROI within the platform for each campaign, which is really good.
Another thing I’d say is experiment with your bid price particularly if you are targeting Twitter users in different regions and in different countries. The Twitter advertising platform isn’t available in all countries yet, but you can still target users within all countries if you are account managed by Twitter. So test, experiment with your bid pricing. If it’s not a real-time campaign and your content for your tweet is more evergreen, you could, for example, lower your price, leave it running for a little bit longer and just see how that works out for your ROI.
I’d definitely also recommend that you think about what kind of users that you could be targeting and what devices. If you’re an app developer, for example, for Android, I’d say target Android users, but don’t target the other ones. If you, for example, haven’t got a mobile-ready website, which you should have these days, but if you haven’t, don’t go after the users that are using Twitter on mobile. You have those options, so make sure you select what will work for your campaign.
And I think absolutely the most important thing is that you keep on testing. Test, have at least three tweets with different creatives, with different copy in each campaign. Make sure that you’re testing different lists, test different messaging, and just keep on testing, and you will find what works for you.
What are the best return on investment (ROI) metrics?
The good thing about Twitter ads is that it’s very black and white and it’s very straightforward. And you can do it through the Twitter ads platform. If you are driving traffic to your sites, or if you’re generating leads, or if you are selling things from sites, then use the conversion tracking within the platform.
Like I mentioned earlier, make sure that you’re using the transaction values if you’re selling things on your site as well or if there is some kind of subscription that people can sign up to. Definitely do that.
Also you can track all your links within your promoted tweets and track it depending on if you’re using a marketing platform like HubSpot or Marketo, or if you’re using Google Analytics. You can see the activity there as well so you can cross compare.
What brands are doing Twitter advertising right?
We obviously see a lot of FMCG sort of brands doing great with Twitter ads. But for them, it’s all about brand awareness. It’s obviously engagements, and those kinds of things are great. Innocent Drinks is definitely one. I’d also say Oreo. In fact, I saw that Oreo did a really amazing promoted tweet campaign around the solar eclipse this morning. So they did their Oreo eclipse. I think they’re also the masters of real-time, and they are very good at that even on the Twitter advertising site.
— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) March 20, 2015
There is another company I really like, because in comparison to the FMCG brand, this is more about actual true conversions straight away and that’s PayPal. They did a campaign where they promoted downloads of one of their apps, and they targeted Twitter users based on them mentioning how much they loved coffee, so coffee lovers who mentioned coffee on Twitter and had a really positive sentiment around coffee. They targeted these users with a coffee freebie when they downloaded the app, which I thought was really clever. So obviously if you’re a coffee lover, and you get a coffee freebie, and you get an app that’s going to be helpful for you, all good.
How do brands get Twitter advertising wrong?
I think the first thing that brands probably do wrong, if they do anything wrong, is with segmentation and targeting. It’s all around the ROI and data really and the people that you target. Data is really important in marketing, not just social media marketing. I remember a colleague of mine once said, “Rubbish in, rubbish out,” and that’s true with data. So if your segmentation and your targeting is off, I think you’re going to end up with poor ROI results. So that is definitely one area where I would highlight where brands sometimes go wrong.
The other thing is obviously when Twitter ads are completely out of touch, the communication, or if it’s slightly offensive, and these are probably the examples that end up more likely in new classic marketing magazines or even in the national newspapers sometimes.
These are learning outcomes. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to tweet something offensive, but sometimes it just happens because someone has not thought about the cultural aspects or things like that. But I think people are more forgiving when it comes to social media than it is with print advertising or TV advertising.
I also think sometimes brands are trying to jump on real-time events with things that feel a little bit too forced. And I think if you can’t think of a way to tie in your brand to real-time events within 5 minutes, it’s probably going to end up feeling a little bit forced. So 5 minutes is a pretty good benchmark.
I’ve got two brand examples where things went a little bit wrong. One is a fizzy drink company. They had a German Twitter ad, which glazed over the second World War because it talked about the good ol’ times during the Nazi period. It didn’t mention Nazi, but when you worked it out, when they started, “So they drank this brand,” or drinks in Germany, it was during the Nazi period. So they obviously had a lot of backlash with that ad. It was never meant to be offensive. Maybe they didn’t think of the cultural aspects. The other one I can think of is a European airline that tweets that the end of the world caught a photo of an airport departure sign, and the heading “Adios Amigos” and next to the word “departure” was a piece of a . . . well, it was a picture of a man wearing a sombrero and a moustache. And again that got backlash from the Mexican community. And I think they just missed thinking about the whole cultural aspect and how that could be offensive.
On the other side, I would say it is important not to be scared when you’re doing Twitter advertising or Twitter marketing in general. I think it’s important that you try and be bold, and that you try and stand out. But always try and think, “Could this be seen as offensive by anyone as well?”
What are the benefits of using a tool such as Audiense for Twitter advertising?
Absolutely 100% de-segmentation. So I have really not come across any platform in the market that can segment and target the way that Audiense can when it comes to Twitter advertising or just Twitter in general. You can really segment and target audiences with great precision and you can zoom in on important demographics that affect your marketing strategy. It could be gender, location, language, all sorts really. You can boost Twitter advertising ROI by building campaigns around this kind of segmentation and targeting, and then have really tailored creatives that is based on your segmentation.
And then you can also increase social engagements with content, DM campaigns and automated actions that appeal to these segmented audiences. So you’ve got the end-to-end campaign management aspects. You also have de-segmentation, and then you’ve got the work flow and the rules. So it’s sort of an all-around Twitter marketing platform that works incredibly well for brands.