Direct Response Marketing with Twitter
Recently, I had the pleasure of spending a morning at the Twitter offices in NYC to discuss DR ad units. I’m really excited about several improvements Twitter is making that will improve its use in direct response marketing. Most DR advertisers have trouble proving the ROI on social ads. Its been very hard to sell directly off Facebook and the value of a “like” has never been more in question. The savvy marketers have moved most of their ad spend into content generation because it can help both social and SEO. Engagement is becoming the keyword and content fulfills that. Previously, Twitter’s promoted accounts and promoted tweets products really lacked any serious punch. They remained largely overlooked by everyone except those who wanted large Twitter followers, such as bands, artists, or news outlets.
Now, I’m happy to report that Twitter has a lot of things going on that can be used nicely for DR purposes. Here are my 4 key takeaways from my meeting with them:
In a world where everything is going mobile, Twitter is at the forefront, even more than Facebook. 75% of Twitter users interact with the service on a mobile device. This is an excellent testing ground for mobile programs and testing RWD pages. This is also a good place to test mobile-centric promotions. Since all the Twitters units are PPC, you are only paying for the clicks you receive, so it's an easy spend to control. The length of text allowed coupled with mobile access really makes you think hard about messages and page UI. There is so little room, so programs need to be concise. But this high percentage of mobile traffic can be used as a great testing ground for mobile programs.
Aiming for the fringes is a key component to being successful in the DR space. The Internet is a perfect medium for finding groups of like-minded users. Twitter is no exception. Their listening tools have gotten very good, allowing marketers to target their messages with extreme precision. Marketers can identify potential customers through the context of their tweets and their follower’s tweets. With Twitter’s ability to geofence on a zip level, a marketer can dive pretty deep.
Say, for instance, you sold custom jewelry. Your typical customer is a woman aged 18-35 with a price point of $40. In the past, a marketer could easily create a media selection for women aged 18-35 and run media against that. You can do that on Twitter, but also include segments of women who have discussed jewelry, discussed buying jewelry, and even discussed buying jewelry that “isn’t that expensive.”
The Twitter listening tool keeps an ear out for these topics and places the ad accordingly. We’ve had ad units generate 5%-9% click rates with this level of targeting, well beyond the lowly click-through of banners and emails which can routinely be >1%.
This is the ad unit I’m most excited about. Anyone in the LeadGen space knows that lead quality is the top concern. Twitter has a new unit called the Lead Generation Card that will allow the user to have their email address sent to the advertiser. First, the email lead will be of high quality. Second, Twitter has successfully moved the point of contact into a channel that is easily tracked. If you are having trouble backing into a social ROI, here is the first ad unit that I’ve seen that undeniably can be tracked back to media sources.
This is also a great ad unit for problem > resolution types of products or services. Complaining about getting in shape for warmer weather? Exercise and diet programs can easily provide a solution and drop it into your inbox.
Twitter has gotten a lot of credit for amplifying TV campaigns, even establishing a new Social TV Measurement with Nielsen. And the trend is continuing. Rare now is a commercial missing a # on the screen. Did you see the Oscars? That’s how far Twitter has moved into the forefront of TV viewing.
Twitter now has an ad unit that can allow a marketer to identify a TV show and then insert ads into the conversation. This is similar to buying lists for direct mail or ad group selects on SEM. Watching a particular show self-selects people, and that’s what DR marketers need. Twitter can listen for conversations that start about a particular show and then turn on your ads. This is great for shows that are extremely vertical. Think Zillow for House Hunters or Abercrombie for Pretty Little Liars. By identifying a show, the ad can also have an appropriate message in the context of the show.
Overall, I was really impressed with Twitter’s ad improvements. I think over the next year it will be a better place for DR marketers to begin spending money. They clearly are starting to listen to the complaints of advertisers that must track the ROI of media spend to conversion.