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Twitter's initial public offering (IPO) is approaching, and Twitter just raised its price range to $23-$25, suggesting it's feeling optimistic about the outcome. Investors may be a little more nervous though. According to polls, just 35% of Americans think buying Twitter stock is a good idea, whereas 51% of Americans thought Facebook stock was a good idea before its IPO last May.

  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    over 6 years ago #

    The article claims that engagement rates for Twitter ads is as high as 1-3%. Yesterday I had a 7.9% engagement rate. Here's how...

    A few suggestions...
    1) Think of Twitter advertising as "seeding a tweet" rather than trying to buy reach. My goal is to have a tweet go viral about some great content that I'd like to go viral. Ultimately great content is the key to making it matter.
    2) Set a low daily budget (my budget is $30/day) and run for 7-10 days. If you have a high budget and it goes viral, you will need to pay for the clicks.
    3) Write the best tweet you possibly can (ideally something that you tested for free against your own twitter followers that already was retweeted a lot).
    4) Every day is a new opportunity for the Tweet to get traction and go viral. The tweet below didn't take off until the 4th day. But it ultimately got a 7.9% engagement rate and continues to echo around Twitter.

    My tweet: Great article that explains how @Evernote grew to 75m users on a $0 marketing budget http://www.growthhackers.com/companies/evernote/

    • RK

      Ramkarthik Krishnamurthy

      over 6 years ago #

      I think Twitter Ads are a lot like StumbleUpon Ads, in most cases. If you've got great headline and content, it can go viral on its own. Both blend the sponsored links with normal links quite seamlessly. But the problem with StumbleUpon is the high bounce rates. Twitter is better in that way.

      Also, it would be interesting to see data on how many shares do tweets with link to article + image review get against tweets with just link, especially with the introduction of Twitter Image preview feature (which grabs attention lot more).

      • SE

        Sean Ellis

        over 6 years ago #

        Love the idea of testing with an image preview!

        • CB

          Chris Bolman

          over 6 years ago #

          I think this is definitely a worthwhile experiment to run. Tweets with pictures on average are 94% more likely to get retweeted, which is nice incremental amplification (and suggests better overall engagement although I haven't specifically seen data on CTRs)

  • OS

    Osman Sheikh

    over 6 years ago #

    Not sure if you've seen tools like TargetPattern (http://targetpattern.com/) or BuzzFork that favorite tweets en masse based on a set of keywords, but a lot of people have had success getting more followers and generally increasing social engagement through them.

    A cool experiment would be to try running a tool like that at the same time as a Twitter ad campaign.

  • CB

    Chris Bolman

    over 6 years ago #

    Disclaimer I made BuzzFork, one of the services Osman mentioned above.

    I've personally been quite frustrated with my own Twitter and Facebook Ad performance (sample size n=1). In fact, my prior poor experience with Twitter Ads was the reason why I made BuzzFork -- it's an unorthodox alternative but the ROI is consistently 10X higher (and, in fact, the marginal cost is fantastic if you have the targeting algorithm built and can run on your own servers).

    Rather than talk about my own product though I think there benefits and tradeoffs with both Facebook and Twitter that are well worth discussing, and there are some things they do really well.

    1. Facebook: first off, just the fb ad targeting "filters" for market sizing analysis is really useful. It effectively replicates interest-based search volume and provides some great boundaries for understanding how big your target market is, what else they like and what other related interests tend to overlap in their social graphs. The geo-targeting is also really top-notch. Also if you're going to advertise on Facebook this guest post by Gagan Biyani on Andrew Chen's blog is really the model/approach to follow: http://andrewchen.co/2013/10/28/a-clever-way-to-buy-facebook-ads-based-on-what-your-users-like-guest-post/

    I also think if you're in the consumer space FB is a really nice ecosystem for ad retargeting.

    2. Twitter: I give Twitter a lot of kudos because their Ad platform is consistently getting better and better quickly, but the base product (particularly promoted accounts) still has a ways to go to deliver what I'd consider a worthwhile ROI. My personal view is that their only really value-added ad offering on the consumer side is video -- Vine campaigns and social TV ad units/integrations. On the flip side, I actually think Twitter is a much better ad ecosystem for B2B. If you'd care to read why I think that check out my comment on Quibb: http://quibb.com/links/twitter-advertisers-say-service-needs-more-users?comment_id=13549

    • CB

      Chris Bolman

      over 6 years ago #

      One other comment on FB advertising. Although I haven't gotten results I'm really excited about with FB ad buys, I like the ROI on social giveaways. I've run multiple incentivized giveaway campaigns linked to a Facebook page + Twitter account and gotten high quality engagement (multiple hundred likes/unique social mentions) at about $0.20 per click/follow.

  • PC

    Patrick Cuttica

    over 6 years ago #

    Really enjoyed the analysis in this article. A few thoughts:

    Re: mobile ads-
    While I don't disagree that Twitter may have the upper hand here given their primarily mobile user base & the in stream nature of their ads, I don't necessarily agree that Facebook is failing at mobile.

    For example, regarding this point:
    "Note, also, that Facebook only has one native ad format in the Facebook app, the App Promotion Ad."
    As most probably know, through Power Editor you can basically place any ad unit they offer directly into the mobile News Feed. While promoted content may not traditionally be considered "native" or "direct response," I think it all depends on how you use the units. For example, a link ad unit (which, when created through Power Editor, now allows for larger image upload which will span the entire News Feed) can be used to direct traffic - with one click - to a unique mobile friendly landing page for e-commerce, email capture, or whatever conversion is desired. While this may not be as effective as an in stream lead generation Twitter Card which allows for in line email capture, it does represent a way to reach mobile Facebook users through an in stream mobile unit in order to encourage potential customers to take a specific action.

    Re: ad formats-
    "Facebook basically admitted that more than half of its ad formats didn’t work. This is generally not a great sign."
    True, not a great sign that they didn't work, but I'd I'd argue it's a great sign that Facebook has taken action to simplify the platform by slimming down the number of formats & shifting focus to an objective based system rather than focusing solely on the format. While I think more advanced users will likely understand which formats are ideal for achieving specific objectives, this much is not entirely clear to newbies. As a regular user of the Facebook ad platform, I'm often frustrated by the almost daily changes. On the other hand, in general I feel like each successive change has significantly improved the effectiveness & ease of use of the platform.

    In general, though, I absolutely agree that both Facebook & Twitter advertising have a long way to go to compete with the likes of AdWords when it comes to direct response marketing. However, I also feel like - given the current state of the Facebook & Twitter platforms - it's not a fair apples-to-apples comparison to put the social ads up against AdWords.

    The author states: "The intent just isn’t there compared to search" which is true; however, even though it may seem like an obvious statement, I think it bears repeating that they are entirely different beasts with differing methodologies entirely.

    The analogy that I like is:

    AdWords/Search = customer was already walking outside your store and you kindly invite them in;
    Facebook Ads = shouting at potential customers (not entirely blindly as the Facebook targeting is actually pretty robust) trying to entice them to look at least look at your store's sign.

  • PC

    Patrick Cuttica

    over 6 years ago #

    @Sean, I'm curious whether you saw the 7.9% engagement rate using "Keyword" or "Interest and follower" targeting?

    I completely agree with all four of your suggestions, but I also think a huge component of increasing that engagement rate is contingent on your targeting. While this may seem obvious, I think the targeting piece represents one of the biggest differences between the Twitter & Facebook platforms right now. I'm not only referring to the targeting functionality available by each platform, but more importantly how the respective user bases react to targeted content.

    Maybe it's a reflection of Twitter's smaller user base & fewer ad formats/units or perhaps the differing consumer intent while using the two different networks, but in my experience (albeit limited), much more focused or niche targeting is needed to achieve valuable engagement on Twitter while I've been able to accomplish high levels of quality engagement on Facebook by casting a much wider net (ie, broad interest targeting).

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