I got an email invite yesterday from Twitter to participate in twitter ads, being the glutton for punishment as well as the eternally infernally curious, I had to sign up to at least see what it could do. I’d been reading several blog posts about the new promotional options and wanted to look at it from a typical small business perspective.
Initial thoughts are somewhat underwhelming. From a small business standpoint it gives you a heck of a lot less options that Facebook ads do.
It gives you two targeting options, you can participate in just one, or both of the options.
To start, you need to set your targeted advertising.
You can target by “Anywhere in the world”, “By County” or by “In specific US metropolitan areas only”. I don’t know how many cities/regional areas you can add, or if there is a limit. I stopped around 20, but it would be interesting to see if there is a limitation to it.
One targeting option is “Promoted Account”
Twitter will display your account prominently in the Who to Follow section to users that are most likely to be interested in your account. You only pay for new followers that you gain.
I can’t say I am particularly impressed by this option. One of the questions I have is, how do they gage who is likely to be interested in your account? I tend to ignore the who to follow box, because when I very very occasionally click on someone, or a business I might find interesting, I find they haven’t tweeted in over 6 months. Statistically I find the majority of suggestions to be inactive tweeters, and have heard more then one complaint from fellow twitter peeps of finding the same thing. So why would people click on a who to follow?
In one and 1/2 days of using the promotion option for this it told me I had 48 impressions and no clicks. This kind of tells me I am not the only one to ignore this box.
My average organic twitter growth is about 5-6 new followers a day, 2 or so are autofollows or bots and they drop off in about a week. Unless twitter can show me some reasoning behind why my promoted profile would show up to a target audience and how and why, I don’t see much value in this option from a growth strategy as opposed to growing it organically.
The other targeting option is Promoted Tweets
When you promote your Tweets, Twitter will prominently display your most engaging Tweets to your followers and those with interests similar to your followers.
My question about this one, is “How” are they planning on doing this. Does it show up at the top of your feed when someone visits your twitter profile? If so this is useless because once people follow you they rarely if ever return to your profile. Is it supposed to show up in their stream more? Is it web based twitter only and how does it, or does it all appear in tweetdeck, hootsuite and using a mobile device.
I’ve logged into a variety of twitter accounts that I help with the backend of, and can see no noticeable difference in seeing a Promoted tweet of mine anywhere in their streams, or on my own profile when logged in as someone else.
I have seen promoted tweets at the top of trending topics, like when Godaddy went down, there was a de-stressor ad at the top, which I tend to think was paid big bucks for, well out of the realm of any type of budget for a small business.
If Promoted tweets were more like promoted posts on Facebook (blog post follow up soon from my initial ones last month) I would see more value in this, but again similar to the Promoted Account, the amount of money a small business would have to spend to get any sort of eyes on advertising would probably be more money then it would be worth by far.
My opinions on this might change as I keep dabbling with features, and see if there are any results from it, but initially from a small business perspective all I can say is “Meh”.
At the moment I have almost minimum bids on both options and have not received any clicks or traffic. I’ll be continuing to play with this upping it every day for the next couple of weeks and see if the results change. I read an article about it last week that I wish I could track down, as I remember it saying how twitter was pitching that small businesses could advertise for pennies. Perhaps it should have read, yes you can set your advertising for pennies but don’t expect any results………………..unless you are a huge corporation with money to burn.
I would recommend doing a little browsing of https://support.twitter.com/articles/20169876 for information about bid pricing and https://support.twitter.com/groups/35-advertising for a general overview if you want more information.