About a year ago, (October 2009) Google inked a $15 million Twitter deal to include tweets in search and finally, the day has come where AdWords advertisers can take advantage of real time Twitter feed access in their Google display ads.
Google Twitter Ads
Twitter ads follow a standard Google display template for all supported display sizes (though I think 300×250 is clearly the most popular in terms of getting the most impressions served and rendering best.) Advertisers can customize a default message, their username (e.g., Twitter.com/ViatorTravel) and some color components. The latest tweet from the advertiser will appear in the main body of the ad, with small arrow buttons to toggle through tweets. The ads also contain a button to follow the advertiser on Twitter. Twitter ads direct only to the advertiser’s Twitter page, and not any other website.
In terms of targeting, Twitter ads run on the content network like any other Google display ads, set to keyword target your relevant audience. Refining Twitter ad targeting to a particular part of the purchase cycle (like research) might be more successful in terms of inviting engagement.
Challenges & Metrics
As with all social media, advertisers are confronted by some ROI measurement challenges with Twitter ads. Assuming that there aren’t too many other confounding factors that would make measuring incremental increases in new follower trends, retweets and @replies/queries difficult (which sometimes there are), many organizations are still faced with not having a clear idea of the value of a Twitter follower or engagement with their business.
In the end, directly relating Twitter ad traffic to revenue is nearly impossible. On a positive note, for organizations with a small, burgeoning Twitter following, it is fairly easy to measure increases in followers, retweets and engagement (@messages, direct messages) that are likely due to the Twitter ads.
Twitter Ad Results
As mentioned measuring the impact of Twitter ads is tricky, but in running ads for a few days, I can see some preliminary results for Viator. Direct engagement with our Twitter feed in the form of other Twitter users asking Viator questions seeking travel advice increased more than ten times since the launch of Twitter Ads. Additionally, there have been modest increases in followers and retweets, but not as remarkable as the direct, personal engagement with our brand.
No doubt, Google will be tweaking the Twitter ads as it becomes a more robust ad option, they are certainly in their early days and both Google and advertisers are learning about this new type of social media engagement advertising.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.