Pros and Cons of Twitter Advertising

Ceri Wilson
By Ceri WilsonPaid Search Marketing Executive
5 minutes to read

Twitter’s fate has hung in the balance for years. Between 2015 and September 2017, the platform consistently lost millions of dollars and struggled to attract new users. And then, in the last three months of 2017, it saw huge jump in profits and a turnaround in fortunes as it recorded $91m profit.

Twitter attributes this to ad revenue and connecting advertisers with the people who want to buy their products. So, just how useful is Twitter advertising for brands?

Engagement statistics

In quarter three of 2017, Twitter announced its ad prices were decreasing and engagement was increasing. A dream for advertisers.

But, it’s maybe not quite the nirvana it seems. A recent New York Times investigation discovered millions of fake accounts producing bot generated content, and a company named Devumi sold followers and retweets to a whole host of accounts, including celebrities and businesses.

This isn’t just isolated to Twitter though, other social media platforms such as Facebook and in particular, Instagram also fall foul to the curse of the bot. However, it’s worth noting that not all bot accounts are fake – some have a person behind them who is using the tactic to help them quickly grow their following and engagement levels.

So, if you’re thinking about social media advertising on any platform, you’ll need to consider that if fake accounts, or accounts with no intent to convert, are engaging with your ads then your budget could get gobbled up and your metrics won’t be trustworthy.

Content quality

Unfortunately for advertisers and unlike some of its social media competitors, Twitter doesn’t seem to be taking many steps to reduce the number of bots on its platform.

Earlier this year, it identified that more than 1.4 million users engaged with content created by Russian spam accounts during the 2016 US election.  While not all of these accounts will be bots as we know them, many are set up to engage with similar content, which spreads their reach to the timelines of genuine users.

This means that the quality of the content we see on Twitter can’t always be guaranteed. We could be unintentionally sharing and digesting pieces that influence our opinions but are based on malice. And if you use a buzzword that sets off the bots, you could find the responses to your content are less than favourable.

Encouraging organic engagement

Despite their bad rep, not all bots are bad. If you’ve got limited resources and can’t afford to deal with customer queries 24 hours a day, a bot can help you notify customers of your opening hours or tell them when you’ll next be in contact.

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

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

Positioning of content

When it comes to Twitter’s terms of service it’s very relaxed with ‘sensitive media’. Users can upload almost anything as long as they mark it accordingly, but if the content is artistic or holds medical or educational purposes, then it doesn’t have to be marked.

This means that in recent years when an ‘adult’ scandal has broken, Instagram has been quick to remove explicit content. Twitter however, doesn’t responded in the same way and this could be entirely intentional.

By keeping sensitive content on the platform, it 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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Articles by Ceri Wilson

Ceri is a Paid Search Marketing Executive at Enjoy Digital.