Questions have long been raised over Twitter’s ability to monetize its platform. With a less-than-spectacular IPO last year and a recent drop in valuation of $6.5 billion after a dramatic slowdown in user growth, these questions still persist.
The main way Twitter (or any social media platform) looks to make profits is by utilizing its vast database of users and providing advertising space for marketers. Twitter is a little behind the curve with respects to getting its ads up and running - rightly or wrongly looking to solidify the platform and its users first. Ads have been available for a while, but only to high rollers paying in excess of $5,000 p/m, but it is now starting to roll out its packages and recently released a self-service package for SMEs in a select few countries, namely the U.S., U.K., Ireland, and Canada. This tool will allow Twitter to tap into the huge quantity of companies that use the platform to try and generate business, while giving marketers the chance to try and capitalize on the 600 million+ users.
There are two main advantages social media ads have over more traditional methods of advertising. Firstly is the targeted nature of the ads. These companies have more information on you than you often know about yourself, from gender and religion to your favorite brands and hobbies, and marketers are able to use this information to reach very specific target audiences. Are you a wedding dress company in London looking to target brides-to-be? You can set up your ads to target only women within a certain distance of London who are engaged. Secondly, the pricing methods ensure you only pay for ads that a user interacts with (via a link click or engagement) and not for every time an ad is displayed. Traditional advertising methods cannot offer this specificity or cost-effectiveness.
So, what are the top five tips for optimizing your campaign?
1. Understand your goals and audience.
The key to getting the most out of your campaigns is understanding your goals and understanding your target audience. Are you looking to drive web traffic? Increase following? Promote newsletter sign-ups? Is your audience predominantly single moms? Sports fans? American or British? Once you have this information, you can ensure your ads are reaching the people who will add value to your brand.
2. One size doesn’t fit all.
Most businesses don’t have a single target audience (and if they do, it can often span over a few demographics), so why have a single ad? What attracts a man in America to interact with your brand will be vastly different to a British woman, so target each demographic with separate ads. Use different copy and images to appeal to the relevant parties. It’s possible to set up multiple ads in one campaign to make it easy to monitor, just make sure you give them clear names to make it easy to review!
3. Trial and error is your friend. Particularly at the beginning when you are just getting started, don’t be afraid to play around with your ads to see what works best for you. It will not always be what you presume. Are Promoted Tweets getting you the most traction or Promoted Accounts? Which images are working best for you? Does a strong call to action deter people or encourage them? While it is possible to look at industry norms, the only way of finding what really works for your brand is by trying everything!
4. Be natural.
People are wising up to aggressive ad techniques and often actively avoid overtly pushy messages, particularly on social media. The best campaigns are the ones that appear like the organic messages you encounter every day in your feed. Put yourself in their shoes, what would make you interact with a tweet or a brand?
5. Never think you have the perfect formula.
Once your ad has been set up, this is when the hard work begins. It’s not a case of simply leaving the ad to run its course and spend your budget. You should always be reviewing, tweaking, and updating your campaigns to ensure you are getting the most out of them. Can you play around with the wording? The users you are targeting? The images used? The average bid price? There is no such thing as the perfect ad and you should always be looking to innovate and take advantage of the latest trend or news.
There is no doubt that a well-constructed Twitter campaign can add value to your business, and it is possible to get very in-depth with lead generation cards and device targeting, but in its humblest form Twitter ads are simple and effective. What’s stopping you?
For advanced Twitter marketing strategies that generate a high quality Twitter following and get users to promote the brand, enroll in the Online Marketing Institute's class, Twitter Tactics for Higher Engagement and ROI.