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Experts Agree: Twitter Advertising Poised to Boom

Published: August 13, 2014

Author: Molly Shotwell

Regular readers of this blog, assuming they’re digital marketing aficionados, are no doubt familiar with Melissa Mackey, #ppcchat stalwart and frequent nominee on “most influential” lists. Well, Melissa was a recent guest on a soon-to-debut podcast series with our own Joe Kerschbaum, and she had some verrrrrrrrrrry interesting things to say about Twitter advertising.
The short version: it’s getting really good thanks in part to the new Twitter cards ad types, something we also noted in our reflections before Twitter’s Q3 earnings call:

Our Q2-to-Q1 2014 comparisons showed the same cost-per-click drops and click-through-rate increases that Twitter has been trumpeting. Most significantly, the introduction of app cards allowed us to shift a big proportion of spend to target installs, resulting in a 1,694% increase in installs quarter over quarter at a lower cost per install. The resulting performance improvement has allowed us to ramp up spend by 240% profitably for the client in focus.Molly McCarty, Sr. Social Account Manager

Here’s what Melissa had to say when we followed up to ask her specifically about Twitter cards:

We have used Twitter lead generation cards to effectively drive newsletter signups for clients. It’s an easy way to drive leads for the advertiser and easy for the user to take action. An added bonus is that you’re able to track the leads directly back to your promoted tweet – something that’s difficult to do with traditional promoted tweets that display organically as well as an ad.

We followed up with a few colleagues in the industry to verify what Melissa and our own social folks had already found. A couple more opinions:

We’ve been testing them in a very light sense, so the budgets behind them are under $500, but so far, the Twitter Website card is the winner for awareness/engagement, pending on the action we ask users to take. The lead gen card has been harder to get traction on, but combined with remarketing (once you get the tag/pixel installed), it makes for a much better investment over straight clicks on ads in the long run.Elizabeth Marsten, Portent


In our experience, Twitter cards, when set up properly, increase engagement.  For example, in some advertising we’re running for SEER recruiting purposes, we saw a 249% higher engagement rate for tweets with website cards than for tweets without website cards.
#1 tip – Twitter Cards aren’t bolt-on additions to promoted tweets.  For example, website cards cut out 20-25 characters (you’ll only have 115-120), so you’ll need to cut characters from your message.  The user sees one message, so if the card and promoted tweet messages and the image aren’t congruous it’ll backfire with a bad user experience.  It sounds basic, but it can backfire easily even when a message is well coordinated.  Monitor cards very closely “in the wild” to be sure the user experience is good.  Also, Twitter applications often won’t show cards, so don’t make a tweet that can’t be understood without the card.  In the example below, we included a link in the tweet in case the user doesn’t see the card and can’t click on the card to get to our Careers page.Harris Neifeld, SEER Interactive (with some bonus cautionary images)

So…obviously the ads aren’t perfect yet. Harris provided us with some bonus cautionary images to illustrate:
twitter cards
twitter cards
The takeaway? If you haven’t plunged into Twitter cards yet, do so with the full knowledge that it’s quirky (possibly even buggy)…but that it’s a potentially great source of leads and engagement. And with Twitter advertising gaining so much traction, it’s advisable to get familiar with the platform now, before adoption really swells and brings CPCs with it.

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