Should you include hashtags in your Twitter ads? According to Twitter's own advice, maybe not.
The platform recently published a list of five tips, with which they say they've seen advertisers generate significant, repeated success.
And they offer some interesting food for thought - here's are Twitter's key tips for better tweet ad copy.
1. 'Emphasize urgency'
This is a tried and true ad technique, and it works in alignment to the real-time nature of Twitter.
"Give people a reason to take immediate action. Maybe your offer is only available for a short period of time, or your supply is limited. Try using phrases like "sign up now", "for a limited time", "low stock", etc."
As noted, this is a tactic which has been popular in advertising for years, but it's worth noting in your tweet ads also - pushing for immediate action triggers psychological response which can lead to significantly better ad performance.
2. 'Discount by the %'
Should you write 'save $50' or 'save 50%'? Twitter data shows that more users click on tweets that express discounts as percentages instead of a dollar amount.
The latest vintage-inspired graphics tees. 10% off with promo-code roadtrip10 https://t.co/mOFvUz54Do- Life Clothing Co. (@Life_ClothingCo) November 22, 2016
Really, this is another common trick of the mind - 50% off likely sounds more impressive than the actual dollar amount. And again, given the speed in which tweets flow by, you need to grab attention quickly, and any measure you can use to do so will help.
3. 'People love "free"
Depending on your goals, providing something for free - and spelling that out in your tweet copy - can be another way to grab audience attention.
"A lot marketing programs are focused on getting people to make a purchase. However, if you're focused on gathering leads try promoting your resources and ebooks. If what you're offering is truly free, you should celebrate that."
Take your landing pages from good to great with our free guide! https://t.co/ukbpXEQPmn- WordStream (@WordStream) August 9, 2016
Again, it's about getting people to stop as they scroll through their feeds, and 'free' can certainly do that. It's also worth noting here that WordStream has included the word 'free' in both their ad copy and the link.
4. 'Avoid distracting hashtags'
This is probably the most interesting note of Twitter's advice. Twitter, of course, was the originator of the hashtag, it's the natural home of the search function. But as noted by Joe Wadlington from Twitter's marketing team, they may not always serve a purpose in the modern tweet stream.
"Hashtags link to all the other mentions of that phrase, and are useful if you're focused on engagement. But, if your goal is have people go to your website or follow your account, you don't want to risk someone clicking on a hashtag instead of your call-to-action."
That's an important note - for many, the addition of hashtags is a means to get more exposure, to reach people who are interested in that tag. But given there are so many hashtags in circulation - and so many tweets around the most popular tags - that's not always easy to do. In which case, maybe they only serve as a distraction - and as noted by Wadlington, you don't necessarily want people clicking away from your ad.
There are two sides to it - on one hand, if you can tap into a relevant tweet stream, and connect with people discussing your focus topic via hashtag, then you should probably include it. But if you're confident in your ad targeting, and you're reaching the right people, either through that targeting or within your own audience, there may also be times where hashtags distract from your message.
Worth consideration, either way.
5. 'Ask a question'
And Twitter's last key point is one that goes to the very heart of what's social is all about - it's not a broadcast medium, it's social, which is two way interaction. As such, you should look to engage your audience and get their opinion - or at the least, get them thinking.
Looking to fix your WiFi woes? eero is the best reviewed WiFi system! https://t.co/QVQFMIB0l7- eero (@geteero) January 18, 2017
This can be an effective way to connect with your audience and get them to pay attention to your message. The key is in asking a relevant question - "How's your day going?" doesn't really evoke much emotion, but "Are you doing enough to secure your future?" might evoke more response. Okay, that's not amazing either, but the point is that you want to try and evoke emotion.
What questions would make you stop and take notice? What are the key concerns you see among your target audience and how can you frame that in a single query?
While none of these tips are necessarily game-changing in a strategic sense, they do provide some interesting ideas to consider for your strategy.