Twitter Advertising – The Pros and Cons


Twitter’s fate has been hanging by a thread for the last number of years.  Over the last few years, the platform has lost millions of dollars in revenue.  However in the 3rd Quarter of 2017 – it saw huge jump in profits as it recorded $91m profit.

Twitter puts this down to their generation of revenue from ad’s and connecting with new advertisers.  How useful is twitter for your business and is it a dead duck?

Engagement analytics

In the 3rd quarter of 2017, Twitter announced they would be reducing their ad cost and that their overall engagement level was increasing across the platform.  This is an ideal situation for any business or digital agency.

However, not all is what it seems. A recent New York Times investigation discovered millions of fake accounts producing bot fake content generated by bots and they also found that a company called Devumi sold followers and retweets to millions of accounts including celebrities and businesses alike.  Meaning mass manipulation of engagement level.

This isn’t just an isolated issue with Twitter though, other main stream social media platforms such as Facebook and in particular, the most obvious platform for this kind of thing –  Instagram also fall foul to the curse of the bot. Not all bot accounts are fakes.  Some actually do have people…yes real life humans, behind them who are using these tactics to allow them to quickly grow their following and increase their engagement levels.

Content quality

Unfortunately for digital agencies, businesses and advertisers – unlike some of its social media competitors, Twitter are not taking any obvious steps to reduce the number of bots that are rife on their platform.

Earlier this year, it was announced that over 1.4 million users engaged with content created by Russia spam accounts during the 2016 US election.  While not all of these accounts will be bots with software generated content, many are set up to engage with similar content, which spreads their reach to the timelines of genuine users.

This means lots of the content we see on Twitter can’t always be guaranteed tone true.  We could be unintentionally sharing and digesting pieces of fake news or manipulated media/ads that influence our opinions but are based on nonsence.

Encouraging organic engagement

Despite their bad reputation.  You can make use of bots in a practical, beneficial way.   If you don’t have access to unlimited resources like the big players and can’t afford to deal with customer queries 24 hours a day, a chat bot for example can help you notify customers of  basic business information.

Unlike other main stream platforms, Twitter makes it virtually very easy for you to interact directly with your followers and even other brands.

Due to its reactive nature, Tweets have a very short lifespan, so it’s the perfect platform for you to test a content plan and show off your creativity.

Positioning of content

Twitter’s terms of service are very relaxed with ‘sensitive media’ compared to other platforms such as Facebook, instagram etc.  Users can upload almost anything as long as they mark it efficently, but if the content is artistic or holds medical or educational purposes it does not have to be marked.

In recent times when an ‘adult’ scandal has broken out on the web.  Instagram has been quick to remove and ban users posting this explicit content. Twitter however, doesn’t responded in the same way and some experts believe this could be entirely intentional.

By keeping sensitive content on the platform, it becomes different than other platforms and intentionally draws users.  Twitter doesn’t release stats on the number of tweets sent but fuelling conversation about a scandal will most likely result in a spike in tweets.

It could also mean that a brand’s ads are seen by significantly more users. However, you should bear in mind that your ad could be appearing alongside the same sensitive content that you wouldn’t want to be associated with!!

Brands obviously don’t have control over the timelines of other people, but you can control when your ads are displayed. Being mindful of trending topics on Twitter can ensure that you’re not awkwardly aligning yourself with questionable media and help you to craft creative ad content in response to popular topics.

What’s your experience of Twitter advertising? Do you use it? Let us know in the comments.

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