We recently gave Twitter ads (their new DIY platform) a whirl for the first time and so far I’m not thrilled with the lack of transparency or the results. ¬†We’ve tried both Promoted Account advertising (where they suggest folks follow your account under “Who to follow”) and Promoted Tweets advertising (where they display a Tweet of your choosing in other people’s feeds).

Promoted Accounts

I was pretty excited about Promoted Accounts because in our B2B sales cycle things typically take 3-6 months before the possibility of a sale exists. So interacting with someone regularly on Twitter, by being included in their Tweet stream (after they followed our Promoted Account) would seem to be a good way to stay top of mind. But to be honest, we have yet to woo any new followers from Promoted Accounts. Currently Twitter is suggesting a $1.88 minimum bid and I’m not sure a Twitter follower is worth that to us. For the fairly short amount of time that we’ve been tracking, we’ve only had 2 very qualified leads register on our site as a result of hundreds of tweets. And just because someone follows you doesn’t mean they’ll even see all of your tweets, because their stream could be going by too fast or they might not even be on Twitter at the time you send it out.

That minimum bid also seems high particularly because I can’t see the type of companies or people that our account is being promoted to. Are they showing it to our followers’ followers or to tech companies or what? I’d love to be able to narrow my targets according to interests, or keywords in profiles, or types of company’s they work for or follow- anything really would help. Of course because I’ve set my bid so low, our account has been promoted to only a couple of people, none of whom have decided to follow us, so we haven’t been charged anything either- meaning at least we’re getting a bit of branding exposure for free. Though maybe not even to the correct target market.

Promoted Tweets

In terms of Promoted Tweets, again they’re just not telling me anything about the type of Twitter accounts they’re showing my Tweets to. All I can specify is geo-graphical locations I want those accounts to be in.
So far out of the Tweets I’ve elected to promote, our blog post about making quality swag is getting the best interaction rate. This is a bit surprising because while the post was decently popular on our blog and with our current social media followers, it was not overwhelmingly positively received. So I’m wondering if the audience I’m reaching with these tweets is substantially different from the type of our current fans.¬†Unfortunately they also don’t tell you if someone clicks on a promoted tweet and then begins following you- so I’m not sure how often that has or hasn’t happened.
I later switched to run only two Tweets about our Denver Startup Week t-shirt deal and targeted only folks in Denver. Using our normal tracking system, Pardot, I was able to see how many clicks the link within the tweet received, and if anyone made a purchase. But I wasn’t able to tell which of those people came through our tweeting it out, or Twitter’s promoting of the tweet. It would be nice if Twitter allowed you to enter brand new tweets, so that you could use a different distinct URL, in their advertising interface to be promoted.
In conclusion, I’ll probably give Twitter Ads a rest for a while until they’re able to enhance their platform to allow for better targeting and reporting.
So those are my thoughts. Have you had similar experiences or have you mastered it? I’d love to know how you have successfully (or not) maximized your ROI with Twitter Advertising.