Advertising on Twitter: Promoted Tweets vs. Promoted Trends

Want to start advertising on Twitter? You have a couple of options. As more and more businesses and brands see the value of social media, Twitter has adjusted its advertising options to meet the increased demand. When logged into Twitter, you’re likely to see a Promoted Tweet within your Twitter feed. Most advertisers are familiar with these, as it’s become a standard means for reaching new audiences on the platform. Recently, Twitter has implemented yet another tier of advertising called Promoted Trends, leaving many to wonder, “What’s the difference between the two? Which one should I use?”

Promoted Tweets

Promoted Tweets are regular tweets that are purchased by businesses to reach wider audiences. They are promoted like an ad, with an allotted budget that is spent as impressions increase. Promoted Tweets are best used when there is an action involved within the tweet, such as driving users to a website.

The other benefit of Promoted Tweets is that they can be targeted towards specific audiences. This ensures that your advertising money is spent strategically—reaching users who have a higher potential of being interested in your brand. The below example is a Promoted Tweet that showed up in my feed. While not everyone has the professional need for a CRM, as a marketer, SalesforceIQ targeted me.

Promoted Trends

Twitter describes Promoted Trends as “an extension of our Promoted Tweets platform. […] With Promoted Trends, users see time, context, and even event-sensitive trends promoted by our advertising partners.” These trends appear at the top of the Trending Topics list on Twitter, and are labeled as a promotion.

Promoted Trends appear in all Twitter feeds, benefitting businesses and brands that have a wider each—and this wide ranging promotion does not come cheap. Buying a trend costs $200,000 a day. This steep cost isn’t a luxury that most small businesses or nonprofits can afford. However, for large companies with a healthy budget for advertising on Twitter and a wide audience (think Coca-Cola), Promoted Trends are an opportunity to drive public attention towards a product, while showcasing your brand’s personality in a creative way.

Promoted Trend Case Study

Before the final 2016 Presidential Debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Excedrin, an over-the-counter headache pain reliever, capitalized on the nature of the election season, which has been critiqued for its chaotic and stressful nature. In light of the seriousness of the political events occurring, Excedrin took an opportunity to make a joke, and purchased the trend #DebateHeadache while promoting its tweets.

The trend began early in the morning of the debate day, and lasted throughout the evening. It accrued 1.3K retweets and 2.6K likes, and the hashtag itself became trending, with Twitter users weighing in on their #DebateHeadache woes. Conversation surrounding the inspiration behind the Promoted Trend hashtag persisted even after the presidential debate.

This case demonstrates how a larger brand managed to humorously insert itself into the public conversation, all the while cleverly enhancing brand recognition and promoting its product. It’s interesting to note that none of the #DebateHeadache tweets drove users to the Excedrin website—perhaps because purchasing Excedrin online would not provide the immediate #DebateHeadache relief that they needed. Because Excedrin is such an established brand, there was no need to inform users about what their product offers, which also nullifies the need to drive users to their website. Instead, the company positioned themselves as THE product to use as #DebateHeadache relief via their awareness tactic.

Which Promotion Should You Buy?

The question of which promotion to consider depends largely on your budget and the audience you’re trying to reach. Similar to catching a cold, everyone experiences headaches, so spending $200,000 for a well-timed Promoted Trend was smart marketing. For Excedrin, this campaign drove brand awareness with the ultimate goal of persuading buyers to purchase the drug the next time they visit their local pharmacy.

Businesses with smaller budgets or more a niche target audience would fare better with campaign tactics that require immediate action, as opposed to awareness raising. For these purposes, Promoted Tweets perform well when the targeted audience is carefully selected.

So when it comes down to advertising on Twitter, your considerations should be:

  • How much can we spend?
  • What are our goals?
  • Who is our audience?

From there, the investment is in your hands.

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With 275+ awards for client work and industry leadership, the independently owned Proof family of companies (Proof Strategies, Inc., Proof, Inc., Proof Experiences, Inc.) has over 165 staff members in offices in Toronto, Montréal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Washington, D.C., and annual fee income of $30 million. As a brand steward to some of North America’s most respected and well-known companies, the firm’s strategic approach is guided by data-driven research, deep subject expertise, smart creative and meticulous measurement. A corporate leader in the age of climate change, Proof Strategies, Inc. has been carbon neutral since 2008.



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