Nextag has been running ads on Twitter's Promoted Accounts and Promoted Tweets platforms since early November and has seen its follower base skyrocket from 200 to 51,000.
Mark Hodes, SVP of marketing for the shopping comparison site, told ClickZ that Promoted Accounts and Promoted Tweets marketers bid on keywords in a fashion similar to Google AdWords. In fact, Hodes has tested high-performing Google AdWords keyword purchases on Twitter's self-service platform. The tactic has often yielded 1,000 new followers per day, Hodes said.
"Promoted Accounts and Promoted Tweets working in conjunction is a solid strategy," he said. "They both increase your followers...We've tested doing only one and then only the other. But allocating budget in both works best for us."
Each of Twitter's ad types is targeted differently. The most prominent is the Promoted Trend, appearing in the "Trends" column on the site. It's a worldwide ad buy that reportedly costs around $100,000 per day. Meanwhile, Promoted Accounts ads appear in the "Who to follow" column on Twitter.com and are targeted in part based upon who a user already follows. Advertisers pay for follows. And Promoted Tweets are seen in user streams and search results on Twitter.com and via HootSuite, TweetDeck, and Google. They are priced on a cost-per-engagement model; marketers are charged for actions such as tweets, re-tweets, and clicks. As with Promoted Accounts, ads are targeted to Twitter users based on their followers and other factors.
Hodes said his team sees Twitter as both a lead-gen platform and promotions venue. He said the micro-blogging site provides a valuable real-time messaging channel for moving Nextag's rapidly changing product inventory.
"In our world, you cannot solely count on e-mail," he said. "It's good to have a portfolio of communications channels. And Twitter is about as real-time as it gets."
After Middling Facebook Ad Results, Mint.com to Give Twitter A Shot
Personal finance tools site Mint.com is preparing to launch Twitter Promoted Account and Promoted Tweet campaigns in the coming weeks. And it knows what it's willing to spend.
Stew Langille, director of marketing for Mint.com parent Intuit Personal Finance, told ClickZ a cost-per-sign-up-acquisition rate between $5 and $7 would be acceptable. "It is a longer lead-gen cycle," he said. "If the followers are sticky, I can communicate with them later."
Langille said his team would bid on keywords pertaining to personal finance and debt-related topics, as well as budget planning terms for weddings, graduations, retirement, etc. Like Hodes, he intends to mine Google AdWords - his brand's best lead-gen platform, the marketing director says - for what has worked.
Interestingly, Langille said the Twitter ads will come on the heels of testing Facebook ads without great success. "We got mixed results," he explained. "We are not giving up on Facebook. Eventually, the targeting and pricing will be better. But it's not Google Adwords yet."
Meanwhile, numerous other B2C brands are testing Twitter's Promoted Accounts to increase their follower bases. For instance, promotions for General Electric's "Ecomagination," carmaker Mercedes, and retailer Nordstrom's were spotted on the site yesterday.
Update: An earlier version of this story stated that Promoted Trends cost $10,000 per day, while citing multiple industry sources. But sources close to Twitter have since informed ClickZ that the cost is in the neighborhood of $100,000.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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