Is 2011 The Year For Twitter Ad Growth?

By: Mandy Cudahy As we wrap up 2010, we can reflect and be thankful for all of the changes and advancements in social media. While Facebook enhancements tend to steal the spotlight, there is a lot to be said about all the new features and learnings on Twitter in 2010. We know what information to share with our Twitter communities, how to communicate effectively with them, and who to search out and provide value to, but how do we grow these communities so that we can truly compare them to our other social media efforts?

Many of you who actively use Twitter have probably seen more and more tweets, topics, and brands coupled with the word “promoted.”  This fairly new advertising platform was introduced this year to assist companies in growing their communities with people who are relevant to their brand. Although parts of this platform are still in beta and have their glitches, in 2011 many more brands will begin to use this type of advertising to communicate and grow their community effectively.

How does Twitter advertising work and what will it mean for your brand in 2011?

Promoted Tweets: These are regular tweets that allow brands to more easily reach users who are not following them. You can attach your tweets to a number of keywords so that when searched your tweet will be the first to appear. If your tweet relates to a current trending topic it will appear first when a user clicks on the topic. Promoted Tweets are offered on a Cost-per-Engagement basis, so you only pay when a user Retweets, replies to, clicks on, or favorites your Promoted Tweet. Retweeted impressions by engaged users are free, which can increase the reach and cost-effectiveness of your ad campaign.

This method of advertising is effective in generating awareness and promoting big initiatives as it will ensure your message is seen by relevant people actively searching out the topic. For example: if you own a winter sports brand and are trying to promote a contest offering a getaway to a nearby resort you could target your post to people searching for skiing, snowboarding, travel, and even specific locations.

Promoted Trends: This advertising feature allows companies to highlight trends related to their brand on the top of the trending list. When a user clicks the trend, your tweets will be featured first in the conversation!  A brand may only feature trends that are mentioned often by users.

This method of advertising will allow your brand to generate mass amounts of awareness and showcase new products or initiatives related to a hot topic.  Having your conversations show up first will also allow your brand to showcase its knowledge and expertise pertaining to a popular topic. This will help build your brand by association! As an example, let’s look back to the same winter sports brand mentioned above. If they were looking to position themselves as experts in the field they could promote a trending topic such as “slopes” and showcase tweets providing resources about skiing or snowboarding.

Promoted Accounts: This feature allows brands to drive awareness and showcase themselves to a relevant audience.  Your brand will be featured at the top of the “Who To Follow” list only on users’ dashboards who follow interests or brands similar to yours.

This method of advertising will assist in generating awareness to people and thus, help in obtaining new followers quickly. It is best to use this technique when you are launching a new product/service or during a particular period of time when a campaign will be most relevant. The same winter sports brand from above would benefit from using this service during the pre-snow season especially if they are launching new equipment during that time!

As of yet, only promoted accounts are available to everyone. The other two methods are currently in beta but are predicted to be available in the near future. Make sure to keep these in mind when you are planning your 2011 ad budgets.

And remember: “Following is one of the strongest, most loyal forms of affinity online—a new follower is asking to receive each Tweet you send in their timeline. A new follower stays with you.” So if you are ready to throw your Twitter initiatives into full speed and grow your follower base to where it needs to be, these methods coupled with Twitter best practices will be sure to help you get there.

Which Twitter advertising technique do you think would work best for your brand and why?