Twitter: Huge mobile use makes us ideal for real-time marketing

At Advertising Week, Twitter President of Revenue Adam Bain says that between 1 percent and 3 percent of people click on or retweet promoted tweets.

Daniel Terdiman Former Senior Writer / News
Daniel Terdiman is a senior writer at CNET News covering Twitter, Net culture, and everything in between.
Daniel Terdiman
3 min read

Sixty percent of Twitter users access the microblogging platform on mobile devices, and there are more than 400 million tweets per day, Twitter said today. And promoted tweets have an engagement rate of between 1 percent and 3 percent.

Just a couple of hours after Twitter unveiled a new feature for big brands that will allow them to embed surveys in tweets, at a session called "Building a real-time brand" At Advertising Week in New York, Twitter President of Revenue Adam Bain and sales marketing chief Shane Steele shared statistics and anecdotes demonstrating that the service is an ideal place for brands to achieve better and more efficient advertising and marketing results than on just about any other platform.

Bain illustrated Twitter's explosive growth over the last few years by explaining that it took three years, two months, and one day to reach a billion tweets. Now, he added, there are a billion tweets sent every two-and-a-half days. And brands are taking advantage of that.

Since launching its tools for marketing a little over two years ago, starting with Twitter's "workhorse" marketing product, promoted tweets, "we know there's [been] incredible engagement," Bain said. "There's not only incredible engagement, but it leads to even better outcomes."

Shane Steele, Twitter's head of sales marketing, speaking at Advertising Week in New York City today. Twitter

Steele told a story about NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski, who picked up more than 100,000 followers by tweeting a photo of an accident and fire during this year's Daytona 500 race.

What was particularly interesting from a brand perspective, Steele added, was that Tide -- a sponsor of the race -- quickly retweeted Keselowski's photo and offered up a caption contest. And within a few days, they ran a TV campaign based on the event.

Steele said that more than half of all Twitter users now follow more than six brands, and part of the reason is that companies are giving out not only freebies or discounts via the service but also access to exclusive content.

For example, Steele said, the men's apparel brand Bonobos recently launched a "Twixlusive" campaign aimed at selling a new line of pants. The idea was a 24-hour sale available only on Twitter, boosted with a series of promoted tweets on the day of the sale. But what was notable, Steele said, was that Bonobos would unlock the special offer only after the promoted tweets had been retweeted 49 times. The result was a 1,200 percent return on investment, and a customer acquisition rate 13 times more cost-effective than Bonobos' other marketing channels.

Steele then pointed to another noteworthy Twitter-only campaign, this time by American Express, the AmEx sync program. The idea here was to allow brands to promote special offers on Twitter that would be made available exclusively to users tweeting specific hashtags. By tying their AmEx cards to Twitter, users would then be eligible for the offers if they sent a tweet with the hashtag. So, for example, if they tweeted "#AmExWholeFoods," they would get an automatic 20 percent discount on their next purchase at Whole Foods when they used their AmEx card.

Other fun branding examples that Steele presented included an unplanned back-and-forth between Oreo Cookies and AMC Theaters that generated an instant 1,800 retweets. It started when Oreo tweeted that people should bring the famous cookies to the movies, and AMC's Twitter account, riffing on the idea that people shouldn't bring outside food into the movies, quickly responded, "Not cool, cookie."

Oreo then tweeted back, "Fair enough, AMC, don't hate the player, hate the game," and AMC sent back one final riposte, "Game on."

The interaction got so much attention, and so many people were following the exchange, that AMC's head of social media wrote a blog post concluding that what had enabled him to do this, Steele recalled, "was his power to react in real time.... An ability to see an opportunity and respond. It's a really powerful opportunity to build their brand in real time."