Brands owners benefit from Twitter ads

12 May 2010

NEW YORK: Many of the brand owners which signed up to Twitter's advertising service, called Promoted Tweets, have experienced highly positive results thus far.

The microblogging portal unveiled its advertising programme, which works in a similar fashion to Google's paid-for search listings, last month.

Virgin America, the air carrier, was one of the original brands that registered to take part in this initiative, and it recently used this channel to announce the extension of its service to Toronto.

As part of this process, it offered a 50% discount to the first 500 people who bought tickets to fly from California to the Canadian city, and the resulting buzz led to these seats selling out in three hours.

The company's daily sales on the day that its Promoted Tweets went live were also the fifth best in its history, a trend Porter Gale, its vp, marketing, said was helped by its decision to ally with Twitter.

More specifically, Gale suggested that the widespread media interest in the launch of Twitter's advertising platform had generated $10m in free coverage for Virgin America.

The brand has also seen its number of followers on Twitter increase from 64,000 to 76,000 people over the three weeks since its Promoted Tweets began to appear on the site.

"We're not going after competitors. We don't want to steal followers. We want to engage our followers," said Gale.

Bravo, which is owned by NBC Universal, recently utilised this platform to publicise its tie-up with Earth Week, an annual event that aims to educate consumers about environmental issues.

It developed an online game allowing consumers to discover their "green IQ", and its initial paid-for post was retweeted 300 times – the maximum limit set by Twitter – in less than three hours.

Ellen Stone, Bravo's svp marketing, stated that this initiative had resulted in the broadcaster receiving a total of 200,000 impressions in just one day.

"It gives us [an] exponentially growing number of marketing opportunities," said Stone.

"This is a search opportunity – it's not to the entire Twitter base. When we message, the only ones that stay up are the ones that resonate."

One key way that marketers can engage members of Twitter, she continued, was to participate in or create trending topics, the name given to the popular threads featured on Twitter's homepage.

Elsewhere, Red Bull, the energy drink, has used Promoted Tweets to provide updates from some of the sporting figures that it sponsors, like Shaun White and Lindsey Vonn.

It has also utilised this medium to inform consumers about the launch of, as well to generate interest in the Red Bull Air Race.

"Engagement rates have been higher than typical cost-per-click and CPM advertising," a Red Bull spokesman said.

"We're not approaching Promoted Tweets as a one-way digital broadcast ad platform."

However, Chad Stoller, executive vice president and director of digital strategy at BBDO, which represents Starbucks, another user of Promoted Tweets, sounded a note of caution.

"Tracing resonance is going to be a challenge. You can put a message out there that doesn't require an action," he said.

Data sourced from AdWeek; additional content by Warc staff