The Unhappy Reality of Twitter Advertising

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I use Twitter for most of my clients. And I’ve experimented with a lot of different options using Twitter Ads. The problem is (as it was when they introduced them) that Twitter is an opt-in network. You Follow someone so that you can stay up to date on their posts. In fact, Twitter seems to have replaced the RSS feed for many people. And part of the problem is, the distribution through Twitter is not 100%. In fact it’s about the same as Facebook these days, or maybe worse.

When I tweet something out to my 20k followers I achieve a reach of about 1%. Yikes! Again, this is only stats. My numbers are actually better, but still achieving 10% of your reach requires multiple tweets at various times of the day.

Enter Twitter Ads. Much like Facebook ads, Twitter ads can deliver your Tweet to more or nearly 100% of your followers. But is the reach on Twitter worth *paying* for? Let’s look at some numbers from a previous campaign set for a client this summer.

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The un-promoted posts (organic reach only) achieved an average of 3-4% engagement rates. Where promoted posts of all types run about 0.45% – 0.65%.

The one exception I’ve seen, where Twitter ads worked well, had to do with an event that was happening around education. And the event hashtag was used to promote some educational software deals.

Twitter ads can work if you have several perfect conditions:

  • You can target an event with a strong #hashtag presence.
  • Your product matches the audience’s needs exactly.
  • The CTA is strong and compelling. (40% off bundle during this weeks event)

Twitter ads have not been overly successful for me so far in any of the variations. I’d love to hear some case studies where promoted tweets rocked. Please send me the data, I’ll add you to this story and promote your link.

This post is available as a single slide from Slideshare: The Unhappy Reality of Twitter Ads

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

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