This has been the year of the social network, marked with the arrival of both major and minor players (Google+, UnThink), and the accelerating growth of existing platforms (Twitter, Facebook and Reddit, among others).
As the social media landscape has evolved and branched out in different directions, Twitter has been one of the last leading social media power platforms to jump on the advertising bandwagon. This couldn’t come at more of an opportune moment; this past year, the amount of sharing on Twitter grew by 576% to make up a total of 13.5% of all sharing on the web.
In the latter half of the year, Twitter has emerged as an important tool for advertisers and marketers, with the company significantly expanding its product offerings with several new services — including Branded Business Pages, advertising within the Twitter mobile App, and the Twitter Analytics dashboard. These new developments will allow marketers to manage their campaigns using an analytic approach.
As in any optimization campaign, the first step for any marketer is to establish a goal (e.g. establish a strong female user base) and determine the key metrics that will be used to measure success relative to the goal.
Once the goal is established, these new tools can be used to track how changing inputs (e.g. brand message construction, verbiage) affect the key metrics. It will be important for marketers to recognize which inputs they can and can’t control, enabling them to create experiment scenarios in which they can observe the output, make any needed adjustments, and then try again.
The addition of real-time data increases throughput, the ability to quickly get feedback, thereby allowing for faster and more accurate iterations — and ultimately, more successful marketing campaigns.
In this article, we are going to briefly discuss some of the new products and services being offered by Twitter to facilitate this “approach of Analytics” to drive marketing optimization.
One of the first offerings within Twitter’s advertising suite of tools is Twitter Branded Pages. Branded Pages will be similar both aesthetically and functionally to brand pages on other social networks; however, Twitter is expected to allow companies to customize their content to a certain degree, providing a great opportunity for brands to engage and deliver unique content through the real time service.
As these pages develop and see an increased level of exposure, they serve to provide a destination for consumers and brands to interact. Twitter also plans to back Branded Pages with new tools such as “featured tweets” and the ability for brands to separate @replies and @mentions.
This level of customization and differentiation will open the doors for campaign optimization, specifically brand message, customer intent, and marketing effectiveness — permitting marketers to continually and analytically fine tune their efforts.
These new tools also allow marketers to A/B test different aspects of their brand (e.g. color scheme, logo), observe the results, and slowly move to a more optimal strategy for their particular user-base, increasing the likelihood that they will be able to deliver the right content to the right person at the right time.
In opening up its mobile App for advertising, Twitter supports marketers who are interested in purchasing placements among a highly targeted group of consumers based on keywords, interest, and country, helping optimize click-through rate and exposure. With more consumers on smartphones and mobile devices, failing to take advantage of advertising via mobile could lead to fewer engagement opportunities.
For example, marketers can A/B test ad impressions from the Twitter Mobile App, controlling for variables that have the greatest impact on their campaigns, re-iterate, and re-adjust.
Twitter’s new advertising platform will also allow marketers to purchase products like Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts, and Promoted Trends. These new tools will be applied on a cost-per-engagement or cost-per-follower basis, ranging from $2.50 to $4 for every follower associated with a Promoted Account, and $.75 to $2.50 for Promoted Tweets, which will be closely tied in with an Advertiser’s Promoted Trend.
The costs of these promotional tools are in line with industry standards, but will allow marketers to expand their reach over traditional tweets by 1500% (a statistic reported in a Twitter sales letter). Not only will these tools allow you to optimize for your target audience, but they will also allow you to extend the reach of your campaign and brand as a marketer to more users who are receptive to your message.
Twitter Analytics is where all of the company’s new tools can be tied together, managed, and optimized. Twitter will offer a dashboard unique to each of its new products (Promoted Tweets, Accounts, and Trends), which will display the important metrics of a marketers ad campaign — all in the real time.
Additionally, Twitter will provide a timeline that incorporates all of your brand’s activity on Twitter and how it is performing in terms of tweets, mentions, follows, reach, and other metrics. Twitter Analytics even goes one step further to break down your brand or personal followers by interest, location, gender, and engagement.
For a marketer, Twitter Analytics can serve as an optimization hub, allowing them to track the progress of their campaigns towards their desired results, whether it is increased conversion, exposure or even driving foot traffic.
By taking the plunge and developing an online advertising platform, Twitter is taking the steps to cement itself as a necessary base for marketing campaigns in 2012.
As Twitter expands access for Brand pages and brings its advertising program out of beta, it will be interesting to see if marketers can find success with these new products. My bet is that, given Twitter’s previous performance, we will see the new advertising platform take off once it moves out of beta.
More importantly, the expansion of advertising on Twitter is another weapon in the marketer’s arsenal. As quantitative techniques continue to be integrated into the world of advertising, expect campaigns to become more aggressive, lean, and targeted.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.