A recent study by TBG Digital examined ad impressions from 10 different brands on both Facebook and Twitter in Q1 of 2012. The results? Twitter ads are attracting higher CPMs than other social networks. It looks like Twitter’s bold move to place Promoted Tweets right in the middle of users’ timelines may be paying off in terms of advertising dollars.
This higher CPM rate is most likely due to Twitter’s in-stream placement of ads, in contrast to Facebook’s sidebar ads, which are easier to ignore or overlook.
Click-through rates also varied significantly for different categories. Twitter ads were had a much higher click-through rate than Facebook for ads in the “news” category, while both networks were on par in the “sports” and “food and drink” categories. Facebook out-performed Twitter on click-through rates in the “computers and electronics” and “travel” categories.
The variation of click-through rates by category correlates directly to the best times of day for conversions. Twitter leads conversions during the times of day when news is being consumed: 6am-12pm and 8pm-12am. Facebook sees higher conversions during lunchtime, when users are checking in with their social network while on break.
But ads on Twitter aren’t cheap – advertisers pay more for ad impressions on Twitter than on Facebook. Advertisers purchasing a Promoted Account ad pay between $2.50 to $4 for every follow, and Promoted Tweets cost between $0.75 and $2.50 per engagement, as reported by AllTwitter. Facebook ads can be as cheap as $0.50.
However, this changes outside of the U.S. In areas where Twitter is relatively new – like Brazil – the cost-per-follower is very low, while follow rates and click-through rates are very high. The UK is currently sitting in the middle for these metrics, according to New Media Age (as cited on the TBG site.)
It should also be noted that while the study provides a snapshot of emerging trends, it was taken from a relatively small sample of impressions, compared to the data that TBG Digital currently tracks on Facebook.