Twitter Advertising Tryouts: How Four Brands Fared

Magnum Ice Cream in Twitter Promoted TweetRadio Shack, Unilever, Country Music Television and Zuji Australia are some of the more than 600 companies that Twitter says it has partnered with in its rapidly growing advertising business. In a recent report for eMarketer, social media analyst Kimberly Maul examined how those four brands fared with some of their test marketing efforts.

The bottom line: All four companies reported increases in followers, mentions and retweets. Maul says these results demonstrate that buying a promoted tweet can increase social media engagement by connecting with fans, spreading brand awareness and tying a brand to a specific topic of conversation. But these campaigns have not yet proven that the efforts will result in sales increases or higher TV ratings, for instance.

In her report, which she summarized in a post on AdAge Digital, Maul says “there is still a big gap” when it comes to connecting business goals with increased social media engagement. Here is a quick look at the four case studies.

As part of a years-long effort to connect the brand with its Team RadioShack cycling team, the electronics retailer incorporated Twitter Promoted Products in its marketing campaign around last May’s Amgen Tour of California. It purchased the trend #BackTheShack and several other promoted tweets throughout the week of the race to keep the conversation front and center. According to @adrianparker (the company’s social media director who spoke at Realtime NY11 this year), RadioShack gained 1,200 followers during the week of the campaign and there were more than 16,700 mentions of the #BackTheShack hashtag.

The company launched its Magnum ice cream brand in the United States this past March and part of the kickoff was a Twitter marketing campaign using its @MagnumIceCream handle. It wanted to tie the brand with fashion, technology and pop culture that appeal to its target audience, so it purchased a promoted trend ad using the hashtag #RoyalWedding. According to the company, Magnum received 89 million impressions on April 29 that were related to that hashtag with 83,000 clicks on the links it posted, more than 1,000 retweets and 270 replies, mentions or direct messages. 

Country Music Television
A week before its 2011 CMT Music Awards on June 8, the cable TV network began using promoted tweets and a promoted account. The ads announced new performers, led people to online voting, included videos and encouraged tune-in to the show. That helped its @FollowCMT Twitter account gain 4,000 new followers in the week it advertised the CMT Music Awards on Twitter. In addition, the hashtag #CMTawards was mentioned more than 30,000 times during the night of the show. 

Zuji Australia
The online travel agent, part of Travelocity, started using promoted tweets and accounts at the end of May 2011. It purchases promoted tweets for search terms and non-promoted hashtags that relate to travel, Australia and other issues where Zuji could contribute. The company says it already has more than doubled its follower base in the two months since it started using Twitter ads.

Marketers from these brands mentioned benefits from their Twitter advertising campaigns:

  • gaining a ‘tech-savvy reputation’
  • integrating ads ‘seamlessly’ into social media content
  • providing real-time interaction
  • giving added value to ‘already buzz-worthy events’

As for bottom-line results?  The jury is still out….but more companies are testing the waters with advertising on Twitter.  Just 150 companies did so at the end of 2010, but as of June 2011, 600 companies have now been involved in some type of Twitter advertising campaign.