How Twitter Is Challenging Don Draper: Advertisers And Promoted Tweets

Mc Donalds logoYou may have noticed in the last couple of weeks the number of promoted tweets appearing in your Twitter feed. From McDonald’s to NBC, Twitter has been testing these promoted tweets as advertising units. According to a recent article from Business Insider, these tweets are proving pundits wrong when it comes to traditional advertising and social media integration.


NBC’s Hilary Smith, senior vice president of communications for digital content, confirmed the Promoted Tweets NBC has purchased “have been shockingly successful, and have received a ton of engagement from Twitter users.”


universalElectronic Arts (EA) reported a similar result when it rolled out a promoted tweet in the United Kingdom this past September to celebrate its FIFA 12 video game. EA released statistics showing its promoted trend received an engagement level of 11%, well above Twitter’s average ‘benchmark’ for trends, of 3% to 6%. Twitter defines the metric for engagement based on the number of times the promoted product is clicked on, re-tweeted, replied to or ‘favourited’ by users.


In October of this year, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo revealed to that Promoted Tweets had far exceeded Twitter’s own expectations. Furthermore, Costolo confirmed Twitter will be testing other ad formats through the end of 2011 and beyond. This includes rich media ads, meaning photo- and video-based advertising will appear in user timelines in the near future.


What could this all mean for advertisers who are constantly looking for ways to utilize social and digital media to push advertising to consumers? It could be a major game changer for brands with a broad consumer base that is heavily engaged in the Twitterverse.


Here are three ways Promoted Tweets could give traditional advertising a real run for its money:

  1. FIFA12Creating a time-sensitive ad with a specific call to action. In the case of EA, promoting the upcoming release of FIFA 12 during the live football game Tottenham vs Arsenal increased the opportunities for fan engagement. Piggy-backing on the game meant EA would have a “captive” and interested audience for their promoted tweet they could then engage in conversations about football and push the news of the FIFA 12 release more organically among followers and football fans.
  2. Amazing ROI potential. Because Twitter charges ads by “engagement” (i.e. clicks, replies, retweets, or follows) advertisers can truly build social media conversations around a product or service AND measure it. This combination could prove intoxicating to many advertisers. No longer would it be a shot in the dark or think of AC Neilsen ratings where 25,000 (yes, that is the correct number) households determine which shows get renewed and which ones get the axe. I mean, it’s 2012—25,000 households are broad enough to determine the viewing habits of 300 million+ people? What now? Insert reality check here.
  3. Advertisers who choose to use Promoted Tweets in these early stages could seize a highly motivated, digitally savvy segment of the buying population and set the bar for how advertising will evolve in the Twitterverse.  These pioneers are setting the tone for the future of digital advertising where it is still very much a push strategy but once the consumer starts to pull and engage with the brand, request information, and responds to the call to action—the result will be the same–> REVENUES.


With Twitter finally being able to demonstrate its ability to make money, and potentially a LOT of money, it becomes more and more attractive to investors and venture capitalists. Could an IPO be coming sooner than later? Regardless of the financial motivations behind Twitter moving in this direction, the fact is it will change the face of modern advertising.


What do you think Promoted Tweets could mean for traditional and /or online advertising? What the advantages to building a Twitter-centric advertising campaign?

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