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July 02, 2015

To Tweet, Or Not To Tweet? How To Know When Twitter Ads Are Right For You

July 02, 2015

Was checking your Twitter feed the first thing you did this morning? Yeah, me too. As of 2014, 23% of all Internet users were Twitter users, according to Pew Research. That’s a critical audience size that you won’t find in places not named Facebook or Google.

While many brands maintain an active Twitter presence, and many more individuals use Twitter for everything from browsing breaking news, to holding ongoing conversations, to sharing content – many users never leave the app itself, preferring to spend all their time engaging with other accounts.

So; what’s a brand with valuable content to do when the real meat (or, say, seitan) of the situation is housed on their website? Enter a relatively recent addition to the Twitter advertising platform called Cards. While Twitter Cards have existed for awhile (in essence, they are multimedia Tweets – yeah kids, that’s right, Tweets used to be text-only...you don’t know how good you have it in 2015!), Website Cards were introduced in 2014 as a mechanism to drive users to content on websites.

Whereas sponsored tweets that contain a link in the tweet itself are nice, the fact remains that only the link drives traffic to your site. Everywhere else where my fat thumb presses unskillfully on the tweet, either drives a user to the account profile, to the tweet thread itself, or to the media embedded with the tweet. Website Cards are a little different – they drive more traffic to your website via clicks on the included image, link title, and even implementing a button/user call-to-action. The only place that drives a user elsewhere is the still-active link to the Twitter profile at the top of the tweet.

The Good

You can now move users more easily to the content on your site – and be more cognizant of their activity on-site, rather than guessing what celebrity they’re ogling on a Twitter feed.

And, Twitter has targeting options that give you additional flexibility not found on other platforms. While you may struggle to find Facebook pages that mysteriously qualify to be targeted, Twitter allows you to target the followers of virtually any username (a.k.a 'handles'...even my own!).

Even more in-depth, you can reach people who are having conversations around terms that are important to you – giving your ads an added contextual dimension not dissimilar to search engine platforms. You can specify broad, phrase, negative broad, and negative phrase matches to find the specific tweets and conversations that are important to you.

The Bad...er, Difficult

Like any other ad platform, you have to weigh the difference between what you’re spending – and what you’re looking for in results. Is it engagement? Conversions on your website? Getting in front of a key audience?

Via Twitter ads, getting in front of a lot of eyes isn’t a problem. There are millions of users thumb-scrolling down timelines – but are those impressions worth the spend? While social ad clicks may seem cheaper than search engine clicks – you’ve got to remember that search is indicative of user intent. Cheaper clicks or impressions doesn’t necessarily translate into user conversions or other end goals.

Lastly, is your content both compelling and worthy of your audience’s attention? Is your message strong enough to cut through a serious amount of real-time noise? Don’t just leave it to chance, you need to bring your strategic and creative A-game.

The Difference

In the end – make sure to review the overall goals of your website – and in turn, what you want out of your advertising channels. Yep, no matter the birds and whistles and Silicon Valley pizzazz, Twitter is a paid media buy like any other platform. Is advertising on Twitter for you? Define your goals and define your audiences – are they on Twitter? Are they interested in your goals? If so, craft messaging and content that serves them, and test, analyze, and refine your campaigns. Otherwise, your message is for the birds.

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