Scott ZalaznikVice President, DigitalSprint
Leading up to this year’s Oscars, Sprint’s new “Framily” plan gained more than 40 million Twitter impressions through a paid and earned campaign with actress Shay Mitchell and online community HelloGiggles. Scott Zalaznik, vice president of digital at Sprint, spoke with eMarketer’s Danielle Drolet about advertising opportunities that exist in a post-IPO Twitter.
eMarketer: Twitter has been slower to grow its user base than expected. Does size matter when it comes to Twitter, particularly as an ad platform?
Scott Zalaznik: More important than reach is that Twitter has captured the in-the-moment space. This is incredible for marketers, especially in our case where we’ve focused with them on the branding front.
In particular, this has been around bigger buying strategies, whether that be through our sponsorships with the [National Basketball Association] NBA or upfronts and bigger campaigns as with NBC’s “The Voice.” We’ve also done some really cool stuff with them in trying to take advantage of big groups of people who are together, like with the Super Bowl or most recently with our Oscars campaign.
eMarketer: Can you share more details about the Oscar campaign with Twitter?
Zalaznik: Just ahead of the Oscars, we wanted to celebrate and tie in our new “Framily” plan, which breaks from the construct of what the wireless category did with the family plan. It allows consumers to sign up as a group—family or friends—and get discounts for wireless service.
Through a content partnership with HelloGiggles and actress Shay Mitchell, we wanted to relate to how people are watching the Oscars together, both in social as well as in person. In a number of Twitter posts and other campaign elements, both on a paid and earned basis, we had Mitchell form her “Framily.”
She added four people, including her brother and best friend. Then we had a contest to fill out the last three people of her Framily to reach seven, which is the plateau to get to $25 a month. Mitchell would tweet, “Post the best picture of being surprised,” or, “Share your red carpet moment.” It was for people to contribute under #framily, and we did a number of different hashtags around the campaign.
eMarketer: How did the effort do?
Zalaznik: It wildly exceeded our expectations. A number of research companies reported Sprint as the fourth most talked about brand at the Oscars, and that was without large Oscar support. We also had the 14th most mentioned hashtag. Adrants reported us as the second most effective advertiser on the Oscars. We reached more than 40 million campaign Twitter impressions, which included 370,000 engagements and more than 4,200 #framily mentions.
The idea was to capture the in-the-moment nature of what Twitter has really embraced. It’s about tying our campaigns to moments when people are together or gathered in a very social sense, and frankly, in a very TV-centric sense.
eMarketer: Are you in the experimental phase of Twitter advertising? Or has it become a regular part of your media mix?
Zalaznik: Paid social has become a bigger component of paid digital media. And with Twitter, it’s interesting. Twitter is not a constant run rate for us. But, on certain weeks of the quarter, around events or around things that we’re trying to really integrate across mediums, they are a large component of the week’s budget.
They are absolutely part of our quarterly planning and buying strategy. Twitter is a fundamental part of our paid social and an even bigger part of large events such as the Super Bowl, Oscars, “The Voice,” the NBA finals and races. We also do a lot in terms of using Twitter as an outreach channel for identifying people who are unhappy or for customer service.
eMarketer: How much do you spend on Twitter advertising?
Zalaznik: Our spending is tied to large integrated campaigns that are [geared to in the moment]. They are a critical part. But, we generally don’t get into things that would expose them or expose us relative to the true mix.
eMarketer: What makes Twitter advertising unique from Facebook?
Zalaznik: Twitter is more mature for in-the-moment and aggregating tactics. With their acquisition of Bluefin [Labs], Twitter’s thinking around second screen is very progressive. We also see different types of brand results on Twitter when watching hashtag performance or sentiment during campaigns. These are really helpful and unique.
eMarketer: How do you feel about Twitter’s measurement capabilities?
Zalaznik: We are pleased with what we can pull from a sentiment and hashtag basis. There still are limitations with locations, which is really important for us. There are varying levels of progress that we’ve made in our new network. We’re constantly trying to understand sentiment around the brand and the campaigns on a location basis. For example, how is Chicago compared to Washington DC?
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