February 18, 2011, 2:11 PM

Twitter goes after advertisers

The microblogging service uses YouTube to show marketers how to make the most from ads.

Lead Photo

Twitter’s ad revenue will grow 233.3% to $150 million this year from $45 million last year, its first year offering paid advertising, reports research firm eMarketer. Twitter is trying to ensure that growth, in part, by advising marketers via a YouTube video how they can best use the service.

The video is unlisted and accessible only via a private link. Web news provider All Things Digital, however, posted the video on its site. Twitter offered no immediate comment.

The video encourages the use of Promoted Accounts, a pay-per-follower product. Twitter suggests marketers spend $4 on Promoted Accounts—which appear on the right side of a consumer’s Twitter homepage under the heading “Who to follow”—for every $1 they spend on Promoted Tweets. The latter is a paid service launched in April that lets advertisers place ads near tweets on subjects related to their products or services.

Twitter encourages the spending ratio because the only consumers who see Promoted Tweets are those who click on a search term that a marketer has purchased, or who are viewing tweets via the Twitter application HootSuite. Twitter says the ads will begin appearing in consumers’ regular Twitterstream on Twitter.com in the first quarter.

Every consumer on Twitter.com, however, sees Promoted Accounts.

Marketers can gauge the effectiveness of their Promoted Account campaigns by using its follow-rate—the number of followers a brand garners during the campaign divided by its total number of impressions, data that marketers can find in a dashboard on Twitter.

To entice consumers to follow brands, Twitter urges marketers to post interesting, engaging content.

“Users will see your account suggested to them on their home page and most of the time, they’ll click through from your account to your account’s home page and make a game-time decision based on a couple of seconds scanning your accounts page as to whether they want to follow you,” says the narrator in the video. “So the thought here is to help them help you. Populate your timeline with really good tweets and make sure your account page is appealing and professional and represents the face that you’re trying to put forward.”

Twitter says Promoted Tweets have an engagement rate of between 1% and 3%. It measures engagement by clicks on a link included in a tweet, retweets, @ replies on the site and a consumer clicking that the post is a Favorite.

Promoted Tweets, which are essentially paid reposting of the marketer’s previous unpaid tweets,  should be funny, timely, in line with trending topics, as well as relevant to a marketer’s brand, says Twitter.

Advertisers should use Promoted Tweets to “establish your brand as an expert in your field or industry and to share insights or exclusive content,” according to the video.

Twitter recommends marketers use a blend of Promoted Accounts and Promoted Tweets in their marketing efforts if they want to “turbocharge” their Twitter presence. Promoted Accounts are particularly good at gaining a broader swath of followers, while Promoted Tweets work well at highlighting a particular promotion or campaign, according to the video.

The microblogging site does note that advertising on its site may have a few pitfalls.

“The products are very new and many users are seeing these ads for the very first time,” says the video. “So just kind of the nature of psychology is that people are averse to change—especially when it comes to advertising, and negative feedback is to be expected.”

And, because Twitter features fast-paced dialogues where consumers have grown accustomed to quick responses to their questions and complaints, marketers have to be ready to receive feedback.

“If you were running a banner ad, for example, nobody is going to tell you if they don’t like it,” according to the video. “So you kind of have to work backward from the numbers and figure that out. Our platform, people are going to speak to it if it doesn’t jive with them.”

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