Getting to grips with Twitter advertising

Twitter’s advertising model kicked off more than a year ago in April 2010, and it is already starting to get a lot of traction in the market, albeit a lot less than where Facebook and Google ad revenues are pitched at the moment. But how are marketers taking advantage of Twitter ads?

Twitter revenue

This year Twitter will bring in US$139.5-million in revenue, which is a 210% increase on the US$45-million that it brought in over 2010. By 2013 it is predicted that this number will increase again to nearly US$400-million.

At present the Twitter advertising model is most popular in the United States with marketers showing some extremely positive engagement rates, some of which are more positive than similar advertising on Facebook. Of course, the smaller audience in Twitter also needs to be taken into account here.

eMarketer reports that the relatively slow uptake on Twitter advertising revenue could be due to the slow roll out of advertising on the platform in countries outside of the US. To put this into perspective, a total of 96% of all Twitter’s revenue come from the US in 2011, with the remaining four percent coming from the rest of the world.

How to get started with Twitter advertising

There are essentially three ways to advertise on Twitter.

Promoted Tweets

  • Promoted tweets show up either in search results or they can be targeted to your followers.
  • This helps in making your brand reach further by hitting the right people at the right time.
  • Promoted tweets show up at the top (or near the top) of the time line when a user logs in or refreshes.
  • Promoted tweets can also be targeted to a specific geographical location to ensure a greater penetration within your target market.

Twitter charges for promoted tweets on a CPE (cost per engagement) model. In other words, an advertiser only pays for the ad if the ad is favourited, clicked on, retweeted, or replied to.

Promoted tweets are intended for:

  • Sharing content and seeding interest
  • Building awareness among relevant audiences
  • Building a brand voice
  • Offering deals

Promoted trends

A little less exciting than promoted tweets, promoted trends show up on a user’s screen on the right hand side where the topics that are currently trending on Twitter are displayed. The exposure here is massive and is intended to allow users to get involved in new conversations and explore interesting topics. Promoted trends is also sold on a CPE model.

Promoted trends are intended for:

  • Building mass awareness
  • Product launches and events
  • Brand building by association

Promoted Accounts

Promoted accounts are intended for:

  • Turbo-charging user discovery
  • Building up to a big event of product release
  • Capitalising on a particular event or period of the year when the account is most relevant

This form of paid for advertising on Twitter is displayed under the “who to follow” section. The engine that drives this section of Twitter has been designed to display users who closely resemble the profile of users you already follow on Twitter.

Adverts to this section appear at the top of the list and are displayed to users who will (according to the recommendation engine) be most interested in your product offering. These ads can also be geo-targeted to ensure that the users seeing your promoted account are most likely to be relevant to your account.

Twitter Analytics

The Twitter Analytics are only available to accounts that have Twitter advertising accounts running, which is a great pity as there is some powerful information that can be garnered from these accounts. This information would help a lot of users truly understand how their accounts are being perceived and to gain a better understanding for exactly how engaged their followers are with their account.

According to the rumour mill, there are some more interesting revenue models coming from Twitter in the near future, so watch this space for more!



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