UK brands turn to Twitter ads

16 May 2012

LONDON: Over 140 brands in the UK have utilised the paid-for advertising tools offered by Twitter since the microblog began providing these services a year ago.

Tony Wang, Twitter's UK general manager, revealed the social media platform had seen "healthy growth" for its promoted accounts, trends and tweets, which have been deployed in "really creative ways".

"They are setting a lot of standards which are being benchmarked internally," he told Marketing magazine. "Ones that offer interesting content are rewarded with higher levels of engagement than you see in pretty much any other online advertising."

Agency sources quoted by Marketing reported that Twitter requires a minimum spend of £20,000 to promote an account for a day. It also estimated the site's ad revenues have hit £3m in the UK to date.

Bruce Daisley, Twitter's sales director, stated that O2, the telecoms brand, has "spent several times" on Twitter, while Cadbury, the confectioner owned by Kraft, has done so on four occasions.

"What we're finding is that we're now into heavy double figures of advertisers and most of the companies that are respending," he said.

In terms of results, Daisley suggested that the average engagement with promoted trends and tweets stands at between 1% and 3%, but many campaigns had yielded even stronger returns.

Yo Sushi, the restaurant chain, leveraged Twitter ads on its fifteenth anniversary, sending a message publicising the fact some dishes were available for 97p per plate.

"A while later, as I was heading out of town, I got a call from the restaurant: 'Er... you've got to get down here and see this is for real," said Robin Rowland, Yo Sushi's CEO. "There were three-hour queues around the block."

Paul Evans, head of media in Europe for Microsoft's Xbox, similarly argued its use of promoted tweets had been "very positive", adding it was vital to continually track campaign metrics.

Public sector bodies like government ministries and law enforcement agencies also present opportunities, according to Wang. "There are a number of different needs that they have - and there's a lot of very unique ways that they're using Twitter," he said.

Overall, Twitter has 10m active members in the UK. One habit demarcating this audience is that 80% log on through a mobile phone, compared with just 55% worldwide.

Data sourced from Marketing, The Drum, BBC, Evening Standard; additional content by Warc staff