Twitter highlights brand success stories to convince doubters

Twitter stepped up efforts to position itself as a reputable media platform for marketers at an invite-only event to showcase success stories from brands who have exploited the paid-for advertising formats on its site.

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Brands including Cadbury, American Express and Absolute Radio lined up at the “#Twitter4Brands” event in London last week to demonstrate case studies on how using formats such as sponsored trends and stories for tactical campaigns had increased their customer engagement levels

Twitter also used the event – which was attended by marketers from multinational brands such as Coca-Cola, Nectar and Unilever as well as senior agency executives -to showcase some of its latest efforts to tweak its ad formats to make them more marketer-friendly.

The micro-blogging site is rolling out a new feature for users to allow them to personalise trends around certain topics, such as technology or fashion, rather than the configuring trends by location. The move will allow brands to buy against these audiences, making it easier to target users by interests.

Twitter also recently partnered with a number of media brands to allow them to place “expanded” tweets in the news feed, allowing users to preview content such as headlines, images and videos.

Adam Bain, Twitter’s chief revenue officer, said the site is also looking to improve its technology by allowing multinational brands to send tweets and manage ads served to specific territorial audiences from one account.

The move echoes Twitter’s own multinational ambitions to launch offices and ad products in additional territories including the fast growing Latin American market.

Twitter opened its first UK office in May last year after appointing Tony Wang as general manager for the region. The office currently has 35 staff, who have worked to sign up more than 140 advertisers since paid-for products were available in the UK.

Some marketers, however, have accused Twitter of not offering brands enough return on investment for their paid ads on the site.

Bain insists brands have moved on from asking the question “why [should we use] Twitter” to “how [can we use} Twitter”.

“Smart marketers know you’re not just [using Twitter] for customer retention; smart marketers are doing it for customer acquisition, or [for TV brands] getting people to tune in live as programmes are going on,” he added.

Twitter said its platform garners a 1-3% engagement rate when brands pay for promoted tweets, compared to the 0.03% rate on other digital media. This can grow to 7-10% if a promoted tweet is combined with a trend, it claims.

Absolute Radio’s brand marketing manager Laura Tannenbaum said Twitter gives its brands the ability to have a two way conversation in a way no other media can provide.
“[That kind of] immediacy at a massive scale we just wouldn’t have got from a YouTube, MSN or Yahoo! homepage takeover,” she said.

American Express’s vice president for international digital partnerships Stacy Stratz also praised the benefits of the platform. She said the payments company was undergoing a “digital transformation”, with Twitter “at the very heart of it”.

Twitter “success stories”

Absolute Radio gave away £250 every hour for 24 hours to winners tweeting what was playing on the station using the #nowplaying hashtag, which was promoted using paid ads.

  • Hashtag drove 8.5 million impressions on 76,000 mentions
  • Cost per engagement: £0.04p
  • Absolute Radio mobile and Radio Player listeners up 7% on day of competition

Cadbury used a promoted trend to highlight the #100daystogo hashtag and paid for promoted tweets to build excitement about the countdown to the Olympics.

  • Hashtag drove 67,300 impressions
  • Rate of engagement peaked at 27.7% (17% on average)
  • Cost per engagement: £0.16p

Starbucks promoted a #freestarbucks hashtag to back the launch of its double shot latte.

  • Hashtag drove 5.1 million impressions on 25,000 tweets.
  • Engagement rate of 74%
  • Around 350,000 free lattes given away on day of promotion

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