Twitter's Promoted Tweets program received a promotion of its own yesterday when Zecco, one of the companies beta testing the ad model, boasted of its success with the platform so far.
Zecco, a discount online brokerage, measured the effectiveness of 50 of its promoted tweets against its regular tweets last month. The promoted tweets received an average of 50 percent more engagement with other Twitter users, the company said. In some cases that number hit 200 to 300 percent more. ("Engagement" included retweets, replies or clicked links.)
The key, said Zecco CEO Michael Raneri, was promoting tweets that contain popular keywords and content that is highly relevant to those keywords.
For example, some of Zecco's most successful promoted tweets for the month focused on British Petroleum and the oil spill, and how it could affect the economy.
"We wrote a lot of content on our blog, Zecco Pulse, about what impact the spill would have on energy stocks and investments and the macro economy," he said. Tweets that contained links to those blog posts "had a 200 to 300 percent lift in engagement as measured by clicking and retweeting."
"It was a hot topic at the time," he said, "and our tweets were around what the impact would be on users' investments."
Twitter unveiled its Promoted Tweets program in April, and has been beta testing it with a handful of advertisers such as Starbucks, Best Buy, Red Bull and Sony Pictures. The program allows advertisers, who pay on a CPM basis, to push their tweets to the top of search results. Twitter has said, however, that it will remove promoted tweets that do not receive enough interaction from other users on the assumption that they are not considered helpful.
For Zecco, which was founded in 2006 and is based in Pasadena, Calif, Promoted Tweets offers an opportunity to compete with its better-financed competitors, said Raneri.
"We can’t compete with a lot of our competitors who spend $100 million plus on brand advertising efforts," he said. "What Promoted Tweets allows us to do is engage with a very targeted market on a very contextually relevant basis."
What Raneri could not do was say how Promoted Tweets measured up on a cost-per-acquired-account basis. "It's really more brand engagement that we're using Promoted Tweets for than customer acquisition," he said. "People engage with our content and we ultimately cross-market to them in that experience to open an account."
A spokesperson for Zecco said Twitter offered the company no incentive or reward for releasing the statistics, but did review the release before publication.
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Douglas Quenqua is a journalist based in Brooklyn, NY who writes about culture and technology. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, The New York Observer, and Fortune.
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