Pondering PR

Exploring how we choose to be heard in a noisy online world.

Twitter Ads…To pay or not to pay?


twitter pic

This week has been pretty much a crash course for me in terms of Twitter, and their specialized advertising packages: Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts and Promoted Trends. As public relations practitioners- in-training, our job was to find out if there was any potential value to a public relations program.

According to Twitter, the 140 character or less way for people, communities and businesses to “talk about what they care about and what’s happening around them right now”, their power is that the conversations are happening in “real time”, with the opportunity to influence opinion, see and react to what is important to your target market through the strategic use of key words, hash tags and links. That’s pretty heady stuff, and much different than with Facebook, where as blogger AJ Kohn notes :

“Facebook aggregates your social graph while Twitter aggregates everything around a specific topic.  Even when someone shares something on Facebook it’s as much about who shared it with you as what is shared. You’re connected with the person not the content. Twitter is the other way around, with content coming first and people reduced to a filter.”

Very attractive from a public relations stand-point, and by doing a bit of research on your market, you can increase the potential reach of your company’s “conversation” through well-executed strategies. Twitter then ups the ante by allowing businesses to increase their reach via geography, targeted statistics such as interests, gender, devices or similarity to existing followers via  focused “niches” by offering promoted advertisements.

The cheapest options are Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts where you would “bid” to have your ad displayed. Advertisers are encouraged to set daily and monthly limits, at which case the ad would simply turn off.

Twitter explains that Promoted Tweets are “tweets you have already tweeted that you wish to promote. They appear in timelines and search results.”  This service typically costs between $0.50 – $2.00 per click (or what they call an “engagement”).  Twitter is quick point out that the typical cost would fall around $1.35, and that you pay only when your tweet is clicked, replied, retweeted or “favourited.”

Promoted Tweet

Promoted Accounts offers “the ability to promote accounts to potential followers” often costing between $2.50-$4.00 per new follower.

Promoted Account1

Promoted Trends are the most expensive at $200,000/day, and it’s easy to see via Twitter’s Success page that purchasers are pretty much what they consider to be their “XL” clients and while the returns can be substantial (check out the Paramount Picture’s story), quite honestly not many companies have that sort of available marketing cash at their finger-tips.

Promoted Trend

So how do you justify the cost of Twitter’s promoted marketing programs?  It comes down to time and expertise. Twitter has become very good at collecting statistics and identifying trends as noted by Kim Garst, so much so that they help you take the guess-work out of identifying your target market while coming in cheaper than other platforms.  Freeing your time to work on other campaigns, which if you have the budget, in my opinion equals pretty good ROI.


Author: Cindy Tate

A Ryerson University, distance education student through the Chang School, I am pursuing a Public Relations Certificate while working full time as a municipal employee.

3 thoughts on “Twitter Ads…To pay or not to pay?

  1. The twitter “promoted” ideas were new to me this week as well. You did an excellent job of using visuals to compliment your topics. Now we can all understand what the “promoted” tag next to the big car company trends really mean.

  2. Loved the visuals as well . . . They evidence in part why social media has moved to the mainstream: Complex ideas can be explained clearly with a combination of words and images which aids comprehension.

  3. Thanks Nikki and Boyd! I’m a visual learner, so I always like to break up the block of text with some pics, and I figure if it helps me – it’ll help someone else!

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