Arbitrary promotion makes it next to impossible to effectively time campaigns or anticipate extent of exposure.
By Kevin RR Williams
⚠️ Twitter Promote Mode no longer available
I have run Twitter campaigns before. Similar to Google and many other advertising venues, standard Twitter promotions are pay-per-click or per new follower, depending on the type of campaign. Detailed reports about tweet engagement are provided—number of views, expands, likes, retweets, link clicks, etc.
It is not possible to tell how many of the interactions are legitimate verses accidental. Like many people, I accidentally “engage” with tweets while swiping through the Twitter interface. And, of course, most times a click does not convert to a sale.
At the end of the month, the expense often outweighs the benefit. For the niche ClinicalPosters audience, there appears to be more interactive medical professionals on Quora than Twitter. After amassing intangible “interactions” in exchange for hundreds of dollars per month, Twitter campaigns were discontinued. Then I heard about Twitter Promote Mode for businesses.
Promoting Tweets is Easier Than Ever
Twitter Promote Mode offers controlled pricing that works out to about $1200 per year. As campaigns go, this is pretty reasonable and is easy to set up. (Update: There are pay-per-click, pay-per-follower, and pay-per-engagement options,) Select some user categories closest to your audience. (Expect compromise: “Health and Beauty” is the closest thing to medical profession.
Each day, up to 10 original tweets (not replies) are automatically amplified beyond your normal follower list. In the spirit of transparency, Twitter users see the “Promoted” badge on tweets. Amplification is a good way to spread news when you have few followers or followers who seem to have arthritis flare up when replying to your content.
Twitter determines which of your first 10 tweets to amplify. Coming up with 300 good tweets per month is an overreach. I aim for four per day. Tweets without links seem to process quickly. Promotion does not begin before about 5 AM Pacific time. So posting too late or too early will not gain immediate traction. Innocuous polls can be promoted upwards of 1000 times within 20 hours. Repeated tweets are depreciated.
Some tweets with links to blog articles or product pages are promoted a few times or not at all. Later these tweets might receive a boost of a few dozen promotions off peak times, late in the evening. The arbitrary promotion makes it next to impossible to effectively time campaigns or anticipate extent of exposure.
Possible red flags. Since tweets are promoted advertisements, a sales message may be appropriate, as long as it isn’t considered SPAM. Readers can flag tweets, promoted or not. Suspicion of violent, political or profane messages might delay approval of subsequent promoted tweets. Delays translate to decreased exposure.
Tweets that do not match interests of targeted audiences also limit how many times they are promoted. The algorithm may favor posts receiving the most interactions, like polls. Regardless of the reason, if only a small percentage of your queued tweets receives promotion, there’s a problem. In order to salvage some value from payment, I adapted to running daily polls.
Plan daily posts carefully. ClinicalPosters is a site designed for medical professionals. It features human anatomy posters and health articles with sometimes tongue-in-cheek headlines. It’s pretty innocuous content—unless you peruse posters on the reproductive organs. Hence, these are not featured in public advertisements. Yet, it is possible that our writing style may be incompatible with Twitter. Here are just a few titles from dozens that received little amplification:
- Will Companies ‘Brexit’ EU Over GDPR?—Seems political but this is an article about European legislation affects global websites.
- Mature Content Filters Enabled—Might draw suspicion but the article explains safeguards to mask potentially offensive content.
- What Goes On When Your Scrubs Come Off?—Could be an episode of Grey’s Anatomy but is actually article about after-work apparel.
These three are the most questionably worded tweets. Others with pretty straightforward headlines faired no better. Whether one of these triggered the lag in Twitter amplification is not known.
What is apparent is that Twitter filters have the potential to hinder marketing objectives—as they amplify late or not at all. It does not appear that suppressed articles are verified, and advertiser notification for tweet exclusion is absent.
I recommend Twitter Promote Mode only as a method of gathering randomized poll data (and perhaps a few new followers), but not as a reliable marketing strategy. Good old fashion SEO generating visits from organic searches is more effective.