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A Rundown of Twitter’s Promoted Products by Brent Herd

I had the pleasure of attending this year’s Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC. One of the sessions I found most interesting was on the topic of Twitter Marketing presented by Brent Herd (@brentherd). Brent was a great speaker who was able to keep the audience engaged even when technical issues left him without his presentation behind him. In this session, Brent started with a quick overview of where Twitter is today and then covered the paid ways that marketers can utilize Twitter. To share what I learned, I’ve recapped his speech and did some outside research on the Twitter’s promoted products for a few extra details.

Twitter Today

Herd opened the session by talking about the growth Twitter has experienced over the past year or so. Today, Twitter is seeing 400+ million unique visitors each month and one billion new tweets every two-three days. With this growth, the network has seen a large increase in the use of mobile devices. Twitter is embracing this shift, and is now building all of their products for mobile first and desktop second. Taking the “mobile first” approach is one way Twitter is staying on top of the evolving trends of social media. Finally, Twitter Advertising recently released data for brands on Twitter. More than half of Twitter users follow six or more brands. This chart provides some interesting insight to what followers want from brands on Twitter.

I was not surprised to see that discounts, promos, and free stuff topped the list. However, I expected customer service to place higher than 56%. Based off of this data, are you giving your followers what they want to see from your brand?

Promoted Accounts

The first product Herd covered was Promoted Accounts. He said that Promoted Accounts enable brands to find followers who have similar interests to what their brand has to offer. This product is appealing to marketers because it identifies possible influencers for their brand. Another attractive aspect of Promoted Accounts is the high visibility on Twitter. This product shows up in three locations: on the “Who to Follow” page or sidebar widget, in search results, and on the “Similar to you” widget. The targeting abilities, which will be discussed further, and the high visibility of Promoted Accounts makes this paid product a good option for brands on Twitter.

Promoted Tweets

The second paid product he discussed was Promoted Tweets. Promoted Tweets are regular tweets that have a greater reach with paid placement on Twitter. According to Twitter, Promoted Tweets appear in Timelines, enhanced profile pages, search results, and search results for a Promoted Trend. Promoted Tweets see high levels of engagement with 70-80% of engagement coming from users clicking on an embedded link in the tweet. This means that a majority of people are being taken directly to a brand’s website – a top priority for marketers. In addition to high engagement, Promoted Tweets can be highly targeted. Brands can target tweets to followers, similar to followers, search terms, or interests.

Twitter has recently improved the targeting aspects of Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts. These two products can now target based on user interests or usernames. According to AdWeek, Twitter has compiled a list of 350 categories, such as sports, life stages, and movies that advertisers can target. These categories allow marketers to find followers with interests that are specific to their brand. In addition to interests, advertisers now have the option to target up to 100 specific usernames. If a brand has a strong advocate on the platform, they can target the advocate’s followers with similar interests. These targeting options are great for both large and small brands looking to find invaluable followers.

As a marketer, you are probably wondering how to get access to these invaluable followers. Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts are purchased on an auction basis. Winners are selected by engagement rate and bids, which now start at a penny, instead of $0.50. This decrease in starting bids makes this option much more attractive for marketing small businesses. The cost is calculated on per follower and per engagement basis, respectively. With improved targeting capabilities and reasonable pricing, Promoted Tweets are another way for brands to support their presence on Twitter.

Promoted Trends

The last product Herd covered was Promoted Trends. He said Promoted Trends are essentially paid Trending Topics. The idea behind the Promoted Trend is creating a conversation around the “here and now” through a #hashtag. For large brands, Promoted Trends could be used for product launches, or sneak peeks. They appear at the top of the Trending Topics list on the sidebar widget. Brands can own the top spot for 24 hours, but at a pretty hefty price tag. According to NBC News, Promoted Trends have a current set fee of $120,000 per day. This Twitter product is a cool way to generate buzz around your brand, but is out of reach for many.


Overall, I found the Twitter Marketing session at the Internet Summit to be very informative and helpful for marketers. Twitter continues to grow and improve their paid products for brands. Herd alluded to more targeting features that Twitter is currently working on; I am interested to see what they roll out next. What feature are you hoping Twitter offers next?

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