Twitter did not offer advertising until it was nearly 4 years old, but since the rollout of its Promoted Products in April 2010 the site has ramped up its ad business rapidly.
By the end of that year, 150 advertisers had partnered with Twitter to advertise through the service. By June of 2011, the number had risen to 600, according to Twitter, suggesting many brands are eager to join the fold of Twitter advertisers.
“Twitter offers advertisers a chance to interact with fans in real time, buy ads that look and feel like organic content on Twitter, and enhance buzzed-about events,” said Kimberly Maul, eMarketer analyst and author of the new report, “Twitter Advertising: Four Marketers Test the New Ad Platform.” “But some in the industry are still skeptical and, in order to make a serious impact, Twitter must scale its advertising, add new ways to reach users and work to make the experience seamless for both consumers and companies.”
A snapshot of Twitter advertising shows how the still-new offerings are working for current advertisers, 80% of which renew their campaigns with Twitter. A typical engagement level for Promoted Tweets is 3% to 5%, according to the company, and combined with Promoted Trends that can rise to 7% to 10%. Most of that engagement measure involves users clicking on the link in a tweet, driving them toward marketer content.
Several marketers have reported both average and above-average results of their Twitter campaigns. Ad Age reported that Volkswagen reached a 52% engagement rate for promoted tweets about the unveiling of the latest New Beetle. And broadcaster CMT discussed with eMarketer a Promoted Tweets program intended to drive viewership of its annual CMT Music Awards program.
But Twitter faces several problems in its quest to gain more advertisers, including fragmentation across various clients, integration of ads into the organic conversations between users, and the level of brand control possible when tweets and retweets can spiral into negative buzz.
“With a growing ad platform such as Twitter, a willingness to experiment and be flexible is essential for marketers,” said Maul. “Twitter advertising is a new and constantly changing arena, one that requires a mix of focused strategy and flexibility.”
The full report, “Twitter Advertising: Four Marketers Test the New Ad Platform” also answers these key questions:
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