Twitter helps marketers

08 April 2011

SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter, the microblogging service, is rolling out new tools to help marketers maximise the effectiveness of their activity on its pages.

Speaking at the Digital Conference organised by industry title Ad Age, Adam Bain, Twitter's president of revenue, outlined several initiatives the Web 2.0 pioneer is currently pursuing.

These include allowing corporate users to target "promoted tweets" based on the whereabouts of individual users.

"Geo-relevance for promoted tweets and accounts allows marketers to reach the audience in the right geographic areas," said Bain.

Replicating approaches adopted by mobile specialists Foursquare and Gowalla, this should reduce wastage concerning communications.

This system also monitors the location supplied by individual members, and determines if they frequently send posts from elsewhere, so offers covering both localities are presented to netizens.

"A regional chain that is only available in a certain part of the country can now promote their account or tweets in the right metro areas," Bain said.

"If you want to advertise against the term 'jeans' to people in Cleveland, you can now do that."

The targeting platform can be applied in 210 US cities and various metropolitan centres in over 100 nations, and the ambition is to expand these figures going forward.

McDonald's Canada has already taken advantage of this service, referencing menu items such as chocolate-coffee flavoured milkshake and peach pie.

Some 155m tweets are posted per day, up from 55m a year ago.

The pace of growth quickened in Q1 2011, with 52% global daily increase, and a 38% lift in the US.

Sign-up rates also leapt 52% worldwide during Q1, boosted by an above-average 57% surge in America.

Visitor numbers from mobiles powered by Google Android climbed 104% in the same period, totals hitting 72% and 55% for Apple's iPad and iPhone respectively, and 51% for Research in Motion's BlackBerry.

Indeed, there was a 50% jump in monthly sign-ups from wireless devices in the first quarter, indicating the rising importance of this channel for web operators.

As a means of aiding companies keen to gain deeper insights about their "followers", Twitter has created a new "Follower Dashboard" for firms using promoted tweets and trends, or possessing official accounts.

Data tracked ranges from engagement levels and clickthroughs to relevant tweets and retweets, as well as drawing on information in member biographies, and which lists they have joined.

"Now, marketers can understand their audience and react better to that audience by refining their campaigns," Bain said.

"Tweet by tweet by tweet, for each organic and paid tweet, we're able to tell you how it's resonating, including follows and unfollows, so you can tell if you're turning off your followers."

Radio Shack used a test version of the Dashboard when sponsoring a trending topic that yielded 65m impressions and an 8.8% engagement score, up on a norm of 3%-5%.

A "retweet" from cyclist Lance Armstrong contributed to such success, and Radio Shack formed a partnership with his Livestrong Foundation in the not-for-profit's home state, Texas as a result.

"The ROI on this social media initiative was stratospheric," said Lee Applbaum, Radio Shack's cmo, as wireless product sales rose by over 10% in the three days after the Twitter push.

Bain revealed that Twitter currently has 600 advertising customers, 80% of which have run more than one campaign.

The five year-old enterprise is in the process of delivering a "self-service" marketing platform, as it seeks to attract the long-tail of small businesses, and secure 60,000 clients.

Data sourced from AdAge, Twitter; additional content by Warc staff