If there's one thing that marketers should learn from Twitter, it's that you can make a big impact with a small message. Though it may be trickier than Facebook marketing, the sheer number of Twitter marketing success stories is evidence that the platform has value to marketers and advertisers. For critics who want more hard evidence, Twitter recently partnered with MarketShare to do a study on the effectiveness of Twitter marketing on auto sales. The results from this study show that Twitter not only works for auto sales, but has generated over $700 million in car sales.
The MarketShare study is a rebuke of those who argue you can't accomplish much with 140 characters. According to the researchers, Twitter drove $716 million in auto sales among the modeled nameplates in 2013. Auto dealers accomplished this through Twitter Ads, positive organic brand mentions on Twitter, amplification of TV advertising and the auto company's "owned" Twitter activity.
The biggest gains were from the sellers of luxury model cars. For every $1 invested in Twitter marketing, luxury compact auto sales brought in $17.80 in revenue. Volume mid-sized cars brought in a smaller amount, $7.90 in revenue for $1 invested. Either number represents a great return on investment. And to be fair, luxury models cost a lot more than regular models so this would account for much of the gap in ROI.
The study also showcased the value on an integrated marketing campaign with Twitter and TV advertising. According to the researchers, when auto marketers ran both TV ads and Twitter ads, the return on investment was 19% higher than when running TV ads alone. This result backs up recent research from Nielsen that also showed that Twitter and TV marketing worked well together.
"With over 65,000 daily tweets about purchasing or researching a new car, Twitter gives auto brands the unique opportunity to connect with an audience of in-market shoppers who have expressed intent to buy a car," said Rob Pietsch, head of Twitter's auto vertical, in a statement.
"The new research from MarketShare highlights the power of Twitter for auto marketers, who can leverage the platform to not only build brand awareness and affinity with auto-intenders, but actually move cars off the lot."
Of course, given MarketShare's partnership with Twitter, it's important to examine the methodology of the study. The study measured the direct and indirect effects that Twitter had on auto sales for more than 20 volume midsize and luxury compact cars. The models they chose accounted for a little over a third of annual U.S. sales in 2013. According to information Twitter gave AdAge, the model also includes "broader media mix, and non-marketing factors that influence purchases such as vehicle price and the economy."
There are a few takeaways for marketers who aren't trying to sell cars. First, it shows that Twitter marketing can be helpful, if it can be used to sell big ticket items like cars, it can work for just about any business. Second, there are a lot of ways to market on Twitter, so a campaign should include a mix of tweets, ads, and more. And third, Twitter works best when it's part of a larger marketing campaign.
This study from MarketShare is another piece of evidence in a long line of studies showcasing the power of Twitter for businesses. Auto dealers should especially take notice of this study, since it shows that using the platform can be a great investment that leads to much higher sales. For more information about Twitter, read this article that shows how businesses can use Twitter to target customers who recently visited their site.