Twitter has undoubtedly been losing a bit of ground to Facebook in the social advertising space, but it’s still a viable platform, and a slew of recent (and impending) updates should have advertisers sitting up and paying attention.
In this post, we’ll break down recent announcements, in-the-works features and even a persistent rumor — and we’ll explain how to plan for all of them in your campaigns.
Let’s jump in.
- Event Targeting — Think big events like Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, The Grammys, the Super Bowl and Disney’s 60th anniversary, to name a few. Twitter provides a calendar of upcoming events, and even demographic insights on those who would encompass the event audience. Events can be layered onto additional targeting parameters, like age and gender, within a campaign. The recommended practice is to run these 12 hours before the event, during the event and 12 hours afterward.
- Twitter Audience Insights — These are similar to Facebook’s Audience Insights. Many mobile app advertisers use the mobile footprint portion of the tool, and it's a great way to get a sense of which kind of users are downloading and using your app. But it’s not limited to mobile app advertisers. The tool boasts demographics, interests, lifestyle, purchase behavior and TV viewing behavior for many types of audiences. You can also compare one target group to another to see similarities and differences.
- Brand Hub — Available to large- and medium-sized brands, this generally gives high-level insights on the people talking about your brand. It helps give a view into the conversation occurring across the Web around a brand, as well as signals on purchase intent and brand loyalty.
- Twitter Audience Platform (TAP) — Still in Beta, this is a great option to reach more than 700 million people on and off ofTwitter. Its best use case is when you want to increase the scale of your Twitter campaigns and reach a broader audience using Twitter’s audience targeting capabilities. Similar to Facebook Audience Network (FAN), it allows for interstitial and native ads within apps; users don’t have to have a Twitter account to be shown the ad.
We’ve seen that ads on the TAP can even perform as efficiently or sometimes more efficiently than traditional ads. A word of advice is to ensure that your product or service is one that has a natural flow from someone who is currently in a mobile application (for instance, mobile gaming apps). Other mobile apps make for the best advertisers in TAP, in our experience.
- Logged-Out User Targeting — This feature is not fully rolled out yet; when it is, you’ll be able to reach the 500 million logged-out people per month who come to Twitter via a Google search, a link in an email or text message, or an embedded tweet on a site. Previously, the potential audience size for promoted tweets was only 300 million; this update more than doubles the potential reach. And with traffic coming from a search engine, a lot of this targeting will be attached to some level of search intent. This is a very exciting announcement and one that we’re keeping a sharp eye on.
- Conversational Ads — Ready to take your brand’s hashtags (and engagement) to the next level? Conversational ads allow for customizable hashtag call-to-action buttons, in a two-option poll format. After the user taps on a hashtag CTA, a pre-populated tweet will form, including the user’s chosen hashtag, along with brand creative (photo or video) that can be customized and tweeted to the user’s followers in their timelines. Once the users tweet, they will receive a thank-you message from the brand and a link to the brand’s site. Who knows? Maybe this could even drive a few bottom-funnel conversions along the way.
Expanding the 140-Character Count (140 shots to break the Internet): Rumors are swirling that Jack Dorsey wants to expand the character count to 10,000. For direct response advertisers, we anticipate little to no change if this does actually launch. Firstly, the image carries the majority of the weight of an ad, and the snippet viewable within a user’s timeline will always get truncated. For branding advertisers, this would open up potential for deeper engagement between brands and users within Twitter. Deeper engagement on the platform is sorely needed; the average user spends less than half the minutes per day on Twitter than on Facebook. We also can’t help but think that even more customer service issues will get addressed on Twitter if customers aren’t shackled by 140 characters.
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