I know many still lament the days when social media networks had no paid component to them but anyone who ever had to meet payroll know a business model with zero revenue could not last. You still read complaints all along the web on the subject even four years after the biggest social media sites have developed paid advertisement platforms. I have tried every major platform at one point or another. My first experience with twitter advertising was less than stellar. Granted it was a few years ago, but my first ad campaign was for tweets only as they hadn’t added anything else yet. If you can believe the target for that campaign was the US, yup targeting wasn’t more detailed than at the country level. Although for the modest sum of $1-$3 per follow/engagement it generated a decent result.
Recently I decided to revisit Twitter ads to see what has changed. Have their been significant improvements? Did they still keep it simple to use? While it was in some level of beta when I first jumped in, I was skeptical that it would still be limited. Boy was I wrong.
Twitter has rolled out just about every feature you might want without making it to wonky and difficult to use. If you already have a strategy for your social media activities there is little reason you couldn’t create an effective campaign in 30 minutes. Setting up a more complex campaign using website tags, promoted tweets, and lead generation creatives would take a bit longer and knowledge that encompasses a few different skills. But as a small business owner your first campaign would most likely be to gain local potential buyers, and that you can do.
There are quite a number features that are simple to understand so I won’t spend a great deal of time with them, for simplicity I will just list them so you know what is available:
1. Customized start and end date.
2. Maximum total budget
3. Maximum daily budget
4. Targeting by language
5. Targeting gender
6. Targeting by platform
7. Targeting by location (you can now drill down to city/metro)
8. Target by interest i.e. business and news, console gaming
9. Target with keywords/phrases
These are generally what one should expect from any advertising platform. So here are some more unique items that have more value in differentiating Twitter from other social media platforms.
Target TV audiences
So far as I can tell or have heard this is a unique option only on Twitter. Most of us have by now noticed their strong push onto programs with mass appeal. TV targeting on Twitter probably doesn’t fit everyone but if you feel that there is a strong correlation between a particular show and your target audience this unique feature might be an option to use. There are some more complicated options, so further investigation is warranted.
This acts like a re-targeting campaign, which can be incredibly effective. With a tracking cookie you can target those who have previously visited your site, you can upload an email list of customers or prospects, or simply by Twitter Id. People who have bought before already know you and can be convinced to by again, this is a simple way to remind them of your brand. There are many theories about how many times a consumer need to see a product or brand before they gain trust in it, or are actually in a position to buy but we can all agree it is rare that they would buy after only a few casual messages. Re-targeting those who have some level of brand awareness with a meaningful interaction goes a long way.
The last tool in the Twitter shed is the creatives or visual ad builder. Again I think they got this right. It has all the elements you need without it requiring a ton graphic design work. This is of course where having an organized file of your brand material comes in handy. Too many businesses I’ve worked with keep an organized file of their marketing assets, I always am amazed at this. But that is a blog for another day.
Just like on some advertising mediums, Twitter allows you to create visual ads. There are a two options, tweets and cards. Tweets are pretty simple, choose one of your recent tweets to use in the campaign. Cards are an interesting feature and provide two options, lead generation and website. Each allows you to chose an image to insert in the ad. With the website option, the idea is to generate website visits. You are allowed a 70 character title, a URL landing page, and five “call to action” button text choices. The twitter lead generation card has a few more details and has aspects more savvy marketer will find familiar, like a link to your privacy page and post submit message. It has the standard short intro and call to action text, which you can choose yourself (no canned message here) but the more interesting feature is that allows you to have the information entered into your CRM or email marketing system. This feature is new and very useful. Unless you know what your doing, stick with the tweets and website option.
Everything taken into consideration, Twitter has done a fantastic job developing their paid ad platform with rich features while still keeping it simple enough for the average user to be able use and benefit from. If you are trying to or already have a presence on Twitter, Twitter advertising is a must try. It is not intimidating and at least for now remains something a small business owner can still tackle in 30 minutes.