Twitter rolls out new marketing tools

16 July 2010

NEW YORK: Twitter, the microblogging service, is expanding the range of options it makes available to brands, having received positive feedback regarding its initial activity in this area.

Walt Disney, the entertainment group, has signed up to the social network's latest marketing tool, @earlybird, which allows users to access deals and discounts for a limited period of time.

As part of the communications strategy supporting its film The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Disney is offering two tickets for the price of one via Twitter.

In return for its investment, the company will see its paid-for post retweeted on a regular basis via the earlybird feed, which has rapidly secured over 50,000 followers.

The link contained in Disney's tweet directs netizens to a dedicated section of its Fandango site, where they then enter a special code.

Any offer hosted on @earlybird must be exclusive to Twitter, which is hoping to roll out regional and other targeted deals in the future.

Disney's Pixar studio has also previously paid for Toy Story 3 to feature as a trending topic on Twitter's homepage.

Dick Costolo, Twitter's chief operating officer, said it planned to build advertising models which reflected existing habits among its audience.

"We're trying to make sure our ad platform is organic to how people are already using Twitter," he said. "There's going to be lots of iteration and testing. So far it's working."

Procter & Gamble's Old Spice recently ran a Promoted Trend tied to its campaign “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”, an effort that has achieved considerable viral traction across the web.

Virgin America, Bravo and Red Bull were just some of the firms that had joined the Promoted Tweet scheme by the time it first went live, and most participants have reported promising results.

Costelo suggested the fact many corporations established a presence on Twitter prior to these developments means they have learned to interact with consumers rather than simply repurposing search ads from Google.

"If we tried to monetize at day one, you'd see people cutting and pasting their Adwords ads and getting no followers," he said. 

Coca-Cola, the soft drinks giant, generated impressive figures from employing Promoted Tweets and Topics during the World Cup, when it sponsored the conversation surrounding a match between England and the US.

According to Carol Kruse, Coke's vice president for global interactive marketing, this approach yielded 86 million impressions in 24 hours.

It also delivered an "engagement rate" of 6%, which can be measured against the corresponding total of well under 1% in terms of the number of people that generally click on other forms of online ads. 

"The amount of impressions in such a short period of time around our whole World Cup campaign, to me it was a phenomenal time," said Kruse. "It made this emotional connection at the time, it was great."

Kruse added that Coca-Cola decided to utilise Promoted Trends as soon as it saw the opportunities they would provide.

"We get a lot of first looks and we jumped on that one immediately. It is the perfect example of us wanting to learn in this space," she said.

"We didn't know how it would work out but we wanted to learn in that space ... It could have completely flopped."

Data sourced from AdWeek/Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff