People spend ever more time on social networks due in large part to their widespread availability on mobile devices. Mobile social media apps have built-in triggers to get your attention in the form of those little notifications that show up on your smartphone’s home screen telling you when someone in your network has replied to, retweeted or favorited to your content.
Those notifications are conditioning us to check out what’s going on in our network throughout the day, driving up the frequency with which we use the network. We’re all turning into Pavlov Dogs
As social networks have become integral to our daily lives, advertising budgets have increased for social media to reflect that behavior.
Here, then, is a cheat sheet to help you evaluate the pros and cons of Twitter advertising.
Twitter has the second-largest audience of the social networks, with 317 million active monthly users, according to Statistia. Unlike Facebook, though, US users spend average of 1 minute a day at Twitter, according to comScore data. People tend to dip and dip out of Twitter throughout the day.
Twitter is trying to change this behavior, though, by striking live video-streaming deals with the major professional sports leagues: the National Hockey League, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, and, most prominently the National Football League, with whom it will produce a daily live news show.
Twitter understands that there is a symbiotic relationship between social media and television and know’s it has some catching up to do:
Twitter is also positioning itself as the go-to platform for major events, having live-streamed coverage of the Republican and Democratic national conventions. Twitter even features a “Broadcast” tab within its search results to promote live-streams on its Periscope app.
What these deals all have in common is that they take advantage of existing, real-time conversations that were taking place on Twitter regarding these events. For sports, Twitter has long been a central location where fans of a given team can connect and provide running commentary about and engage in real-time conversations while a game is underway.
Twitter has long been a mainstay for political junkies who engage in real-time conversations about debates in state legislatures as well as prime time presidential addresses and political conventions.
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Steaming the video of such events and providing a live stream of related tweets alongside the video action simply consolidates what was already taking place. Creating a central location for this dynamic also helps to build a habit among Twitter users to stay at the site far longer than average.
Twitter is targeting the business sector with deals to live-stream Bloomberg TV shows Bloomberg West, What’d You Miss?, With All Due Respect, and Daybreak
as well as Cheddar.
While the push for live video is a recent development, Twitter has long been the source for breaking news. Journalists break stories on Twitter. Companies and celebrities alike make announcements on Twitter.
Lastly, because the platform is entirely public, individuals who have built a following for themselves either as subject matter experts or as content producers are likely to be active on Twitter. It is, therefore, an excellent channel for reaching influencers.
For all of these reasons, Twitter can be a very useful advertising medium.
Strengths Of Twitter Advertising
The Public Forum
More than any of the major social networks, Twitter is completely open and public. That means that there is greater potential reach beyond Twitter itself for content shared or promoted there. Anyone can link to or embed tweets (as demonstrated with the Cheddar feed above). Tweets are often cited in news coverage and Google even has a deal with Twitter to include its content in search results.
Twitter Campaign Templates
Twitter’s audience targeting capabilities are second only to Facebook in sophistication among all the social networks.
Twitter campaign templates include:
- Tweet engagements,
- Promoted video views,
- Website clicks or conversions,
- Followers, and
- App installs or re-engagements.
Defining Your Advertising Audience In Twitter
The audiences for your campaigns can be defined by:
- Geography (down to the zip code level),
- Mobile carriers,
- Keywords (used in tweets or searches),
- TV Shows,
- Consumer behaviors (e.g. In the market for an automobile, holds a management position, or is a DYIer), and
- Event targeting (e.g. MLB All Star Game, 4th Of July, or movie premiers).
Twitter campaigns include DoubleClick campaign tracking integration.
Like Facebook, you can target visitors to your website by installing a tracking pixel and can even target those visitors based on specific conversion criteria.
You can target your own lists by uploading them based on:
- Email addresses,
- Mobile phone numbers,
- Twitter usernames or IDs, and
- Mobile advertising IDs.
Twitter calls these segments “Tailored Audiences.” The feature allows you to target just those audiences or to exclude them from targeting. This would be useful when running awareness campaigns, where you want to reach new audiences rather than those who already know about you.
Twitter’s “Tailored Audiences” also have a very useful function: Finding other Twitter users who are similar to those who have already visited your site or have similar characteristics to those on the lists you’ve uploaded.
Like Facebook, Twitter calls these “Lookalike Audiences.” This is a very efficient way to increase the reach of a known audience profile.
Weaknesses Of Twitter Advertising
Twitter’s main weakness is that it’s not Facebook. Of all the social media platforms, Facebook has the most users who spend the most time there and, as a result, Facebook has a far deeper and richer social graph with which to target its users.
Aside from that, though, there are some other downsides to advertising on Twitter.
If you are running a campaign to gain followers, there’s a good chance a significant percentage of the followers you gain will be spambots.
Unlike Facebook, your real-world identity is not enforced on Twitter. That dynamic has caused Twitter users and Twitter itself endless headaches due to the level of abuse and nastiness that can take place there.
For plenty of industries and topics, trolls and hate speech are not going to be an issue but if yours is one where trolls prevail, you’ll want to think carefully about how you structure your campaigns and tread with caution.
Twitter shares the fake news problem with Facebook and Google. It is a problem that remains for all three and therefore it is a problem that remains for advertisers as well.
Like the trolls problem, though, there are plenty of industries and topics for which this is not an issue. Just be aware that it might be an issue for you.
Twitter’s Cost Per Click
Lastly, Twitter is more expensive than Facebook. This makes sense, given that the available ad inventory is much smaller. Since there are far fewer users than on Facebook, there are far less ways to slice and dice the targeting options, which means you’re bidding against more potential competitors.
While comparative data is hard to find, the Aggregate blog has laid out comparisons for B2B advertising in the United Kingdom.
Facebook advertising for that audience ranges from $0.20 to $2.00 per click compared to a range of $1.00 to $2.00 per click for Twitter.
That agrees with my experience, as well, but results will certainly vary.
Advertising on Twitter makes plenty of sense for plenty of scenarios, just be sure to think through where it fits best for you.
READ ALSO: The Pros & Cons Of Facebook Advertising
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