Get to the Top: The Basics of Promoted Tweets


Jensen DeWees, a Vice President with Social@Ogilvy San Francisco, reexamines the basics of promoted tweets in the third part of our Back2Basics series. 

In case you missed it, see Part II: Social Works Hard for the Money: How to Identify the ROI of Social

With over 200 million active users and over 400 million tweets per day, how can marketers expect to break through the noise on Twitter and be heard and relevant? If you are looking to increase your reach, drive engagement, or simply get in front of a targeted online audience, Twitter’s Promoted Tweets are a great, simple way to do it.

Let’s revisit the basics. Promoted Tweets put your message at the top of the timeline for your audience based on targeting. It is an auction based, cost per engagement advertising platform, meaning you only pay for engagements, not impressions. A Twitter engagement is a click, a favorite, a follow, a reply, or any interaction with the promoted tweet itself. One of the great attributes of this platform is that you only pay for engagements with your original promoted tweet, any engagements on another handles’ retweet of your tweet is free. Depending on your targeting and the competition during your campaign, engagements can be as low as a penny, but tend to average around $1.75, making it an inexpensive alternative to some of the other pricey advertising platforms.

The targeting capability for Promoted Tweets is very robust and effective for B2B marketers. You have the opportunity, for example, to get your message in front of IT professionals who are interested in cloud computing, who are using an Android device at that moment. New Relic has seen success with Promoted Tweets in their industry:

For consumer marketers, Promoted Tweets are an effective way to drive trial by increasing reach to an interested demographic. For example, your tweet containing a coupon or other offer could be seen by moms in the US who have interest in baking and arts and crafts. It’s also a great way to drive awareness of a new offering like Airbnb did when they launched monthly sublets:

A great way for a retailer to use the platform is to promote a “flock-to-unlock” campaign like Alternative Apparel has done in the past. This tactic leverages your advocates to increase reach by offering exclusive content.

Whatever the goal of your campaign, once it’s launched, the analytics dashboard provides you with up to date data, giving you the opportunity to optimize in real time. You can adjust your bids based on real time competition, your tweets based on real time events, and your targeting based on performance.

Promoted Tweets continue to be successful for marketers of varying industries. It is an inexpensive way to support strategies to get the right message in front of the right people at the right time. If you have the right message, why not promote your tweets?