Two weeks ago I randomly received a $100 coupon voucher from Twitter to use towards their paid advertising products. I was a little confused about why they would send this to me since I thought Twitter advertising was only for businesses, but after looking into it there is also an advertising option for individual accounts as well. I already had a pretty good understanding of their advertising choices they offered through some research I had done in the past so I was able to get started right away. You essentially have two options:
1.) Promoted Tweets - This is where Twitter either automatically selects your most engaging tweets or you can select them yourself manually and they will display them at the top of your follower's timelines for them to see. You set the budget for how much you are willing to spend per day and also a range for how much you are willing to spend per "click." You are then charged each time a user clicks (Re-Tweets, Favorites, Replies or clicks to your profile). Twitter also allows you to limit your promoted tweets to certain geographical regions of your choice.
2.) Promoted Accounts - This feature is used in order to increase your follower count. Twitter will display your account prominently in the "Who to Follow" section to users that would most likely be interested in your account. Once again you can limit to what geographical areas you want to target and you only pay once a user follows you.
What I liked
There are definitely some benefits to Twitter paid advertising that jumped out at me. The ability through both paid choices to target locally is terrific. If I am a Seattle business or individual and I want to get the word out about myself and increase my followers I can have my promoted account only show up to Seattle Twitter users, or if I am promoting a new product or sale at my store I can have it only show up to customers in my area. Thinking bigger, If I was a national company or an online retailer promoted tweets are a fast way to have a specific tweet show up on top of people's timelines to be seen and interacted with. Additionally, another nice feature is the ability through the dashboard to see in real time how your ads are performing. You can see the number of impressions, clicks, click rate and how much you have spent by the second.
What I did not like:
$100 dollars does not get you very far. By splitting my money evenly between promoting my account and my tweets I ended up with 26 new followers and had 42 interactions with my promoted tweets. Essentially, each new follower cost about $2.00 and each click on one of my promoted tweets cost a little over $1.00. The high cost may also be a result of having only targeted my ads and account to the Seattle and San Francisco areas. I'm sure if I I targeted all of the United States or the whole world the costs per conversion would have been a bit lower. Another feature that I hope will be implemented is a more detailed analytics dashboard. It currently does a good job of showing you the bare minimum of what you need to know and how your ads are doing, but being a data guy I would like to see more details. For example, when I got these 26 new followers I have no idea who they are, where they are from, or any other demographic information. I know in the Twitter for business advertising they do have a much more detailed analytics offering so it seems like the one I saw was a much more slimmed down version.
So, is it worth it?
I think if I was a business owner and had some extra marketing budget available I would definitely give Twitter advertising a shot. It is a bit pricey, but I do see the opportunity for small businesses to target locally especially through mobile advertising. For bigger companies I also can see the opportunity to expand your reach nationally through the promotion of your account, tweet or if you have a much bigger budget through the trends. Currently as it is set up, I see Twitter catering more towards larger companies, but I think if they would like to expand their advertising revenue educating smaller businesses on the advantage of using their products will go a long way. As far as using Twitter advertising for promoting a personal account as I did, I am not sure I see the clear value. Maybe if I really wanted to network with people in my area or promote one of my blog posts I might consider, but at this time I don't see any quantifiable value in doing so.
Have any of you used or thought about using Twitter advertising? How did your experience go?