The Haters Are Wrong About Twitter --  Its Ads Are Working Well, And Here Are The Data That Show It

Simon MansellTBG Digital, with permissionSimon Mansell, CEO of TBG Digital

Forrester seems to be going out of its way to upset the social media giants over the last week. First, it released a
damning report on Facebook ads; then yesterday, two days before Twitter’s IPO, the company posted a similarly negative report on the effectiveness of Twitter. This is particularly unfair as Twitter are in their pre-IPO quiet period and unable to respond.

TBG is a Twitter Ads API partner so our defence of their platform could be seen as inherently biased. We have talked to our clients and everyone agrees that it’s a relatively new channel and there is still work to do. However, it does allow brands to communicate around things that are happening in real time, to feel and act more like humans and hopefully as a result create real emotional relationships with their target audience.

Is everyone clear on how to measure Twitter activity yet? No. Does that mean brands shouldn’t try it? No. One of the main objectives of advertising is to cut through the clutter, so if brands always waited for new platforms to have completely developed ad products with targeting and measurement all nailed down perfectly, the opportunity to cut-through and stand-out may have passed.

I wouldn’t be as visceral in my defence as Rob Leathern was about Facebook last week but I do think everyone needs to remember that these are new platforms with new ad products and advertisers are still working it all out. 

Just before Facebook’s IPO there were similar attacks on the effectiveness of their ads. Despite Forrester’s assertions, the numbers don’t lie — Facebook’s revenue is up 61% year on year.

On Twitter, the initial performance of their ad products is promising. We have recently seen the following results:

  • 17% engagement on a promoted Tweet for a large CPG client. Yes, 17% of people who saw the Tweet engaged with it! Anyone in advertising knows that these are HUGE numbers (most engagement rates are well under 1%).
  • Drove clicks from Twitter to a large media client’s website for under $US0.15. Any cost per click under $US0.50 from a quality source of traffic like Twitter is amazing.
  • For a large game developer Twitter recently drove over 7,000 new mobile app installs PER DAY from paid media — again, these are significant numbers.

These numbers are from early tests and more work needs to be done but we are very pleased with the progress — and more importantly so are our clients.

Simon Mansell is the CEO of TBG Digital, a social media marketing company. 

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