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This note is from BI Research, a new tech-industry intelligence service. The service is currently in beta and free. To learn more and sign up, please click here.Twitter ads are still a work in progress, but they definitely have a lot of potential.
That’s our takeaway after speaking to three brand executives who buy and use Twitter ads.
We asked the executives how well the ads work, what they’re like to use, and so forth.
The responses provide a sense of the advertising community’s current take on Twitter ads.
Here are some highlights:
According to a brand manager:
- “They are definitely late in terms of serving brand advertisers, they are still learning and refining.” For example, “geo-targeting was just turned on in April; up until then you couldn’t even geo-target ads.”
- “This is still very much a work in progress.”
- What Twitter needs to do is to “come up with a more compelling social engagement metric,” like how many people tweeted and retweeted something.
According to the head of digital at an ad agency:
- “There is definitely more work to be done. … This is all still in test mode.”
- What Twitter needs to do is provide clear metrics: “They need to really explain what defines success and keep clients away from just focusing on one metric, like cost per new follower.”
- That being said, “there is strength in their numbers and how they further customer engagement.”
According to a marketer at a large company that has bought Twitter ads:
- “None of the Twitter units seem to be able to improve any advertisers’ bottom line.” Twitter ads “only boost metrics within the Twitter ecosystem (follows, retweets).” Links in Twitter ads drive very little traffic, this person said.
- Sponsored Accounts “are good at boosting your followers for relatively low cost (sub $.75).”
THE BOTTOM LINE: Twitter ads are still a work in progress, according to Twitter’s clients. There is a lot of potential on the platform, and some formats like Sponsored Accounts work, but Twitter still has work to do demonstrating how its ads deliver ROI for advertisers. Twitter hasn’t yet found the “magic sauce” that will make its revenue really take off into the billions of dollars.
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