Twitter pushes the engagement message to tempt more advertisers #Twitter4brands

Twitter brought its   #Twitter4brands road show to London yesterday and used the event to highlight the success stories of a number of brands that have scored high levels of engagement on Twitter —  far exceeding traditional online advertising.

Adam Bain, president of global revenue at Twitter, pointed to brands such as Porsche, Starbucks and ASOS while Cadbury and Absolute were also highlighted at the packed event on London’s South Bank.

When Porsche decided to use Twitter as the initial platform in the US to launch the 2012 Porsche 911 the brand got double digit engagement from the moment it posted as fans tweeted about the launch.

The success of the #2012Porsche911 exceeded all expectations for the brand and scored a high level of engagement: eight out of ten people who saw its Promoted Trend engaged with the hashtag.

Porsche also drove an 87% engagement rate for a Promoted Tweet associated with a Promoted Trend.

Bain said that when it came to Twitter the question for brands was not “why Twitter, but how Twitter”. He was talking about good ideas and how brands, like Porsche, were rewarded for being good rather than just being loud.

Another example pointed to was Starbucks’ recent UK campaign to launch its double shot latte and the idea of personalizing customers drinks with their names on cups.

Starbucks launched its free latte before 12 noon giveaway on Twitter, backed by a large scale offline ad campaign, which helped it to hit more than 5 million Twitter impressions on the day as more than 25,000 tweets were sent using the #freestarbucks hashtag.

Overall Starbucks saw a 74% engagement rate for its free latte effort. This engagement meant that users either a clicked on a link, a retweet, an @ reply or favourited a Starbucks tweet.

While the engagement levels for these two high profile campaigns were very high Bain said that on average brands were picking up 1-3% Twitter engagement with 7-10% for a promoted trend. That compares to  0.05 to 0.2% for the average for online display advertising.

Flock to unlock

Bain pointed to another type of campaign where Twitter was seeing a lot of success — Flock to unlock. These are increasingly used by retailers to unlock deals when critical mass is reached.

He pointed to online fashion store ASOS in UK as one brand that has had success with flock to unlock where a deal is tweeted out and if it is retweeted or engaged with by a certain number of users a deal is unlocked for shoppers.

How Twitter humanises brands

Bain spoke a little about how brands are successfully using Twitter for customer service and said that it had asked companies why.

Citing 02, as one brand using it for customers service, the answer Twitter was getting back was that while call centres are seen by brands as largely serving as defence mechanisms Twitter allows brands to go on the offensive and shine a light and highlight the things that customers are talking about.

Bain pointed to Sainsbury’s recently much retweeted Hulk Hogan tweet as an example of that. The tweet came when Twitter user @OctoberJones complained that the chicken in his Sainsbury’s sandwich tasted as though it had been beaten to death by Hulk Hogan.  The response from Sainsbury’s showed great use of tone and character.

No wonder it was lauded as “the best customer service reply ever” and is a great example of how Twitter has helped humanise brands and show them in a different light.


Henry Daykin social media manager at Kraft foods spoke about a number of Twitter campaigns that Cadbury had run including its World Cup of Chocolate and the success it has had in using Twitter for games.

Cadbury has experimented with a lot of games on Twitter including staring pictures (literally pictures of people staring), play #catch and a Twitter version of dodgeball as well.

He also talked about how Take That’s Gary Barlow spent months tweeting his favourite Cadbury bars although Cadbury had no relationship with him.  Nicely highlighting how some celebs who love to tweet end up as unofficial brand ambassadors.

Daykin’s presentation highlighted how Cadbury thought about Twitter and looked at what was happening, trends and the language used by tweeters before it launched a new idea.

A good example of that was it found that the word “bored” is tweeted a lot — 5,120 mentions per hour. It picked up on this and launched #boredobusters game via @SpotsvStripes. The Boredom Buster game aimed to eradicate boredom from the Twitterverse with the opportunity for Twitter users to win London 2012 Olympic tickets.

Aside from games, Cadbury has run five promoted tweets campaigns including tying it to 100 days to go to the Olympics. That campaign picked up 67,300 tweet impressions, 10k clicks on tweets and total Twitter engagement of 22.7 giving it a cost per engagement 0.16p.

Absolute Radio

Laura Tannenbarum, brand marketing manager at Absolute, talked about the station’s promoted tweet campaign to help get across to non-listeners the kind of music the station plays.

After debating what hashtag to use Absolute went with the popular #nowplaying, which presenters encouraged listeners to tweet throughout the day as part of a high profile 24-hour cash giveaway.

As a result Absolute Radio saw online listening rise by 7% and nearly all artists organically trended on Twitter during the day including Florence and the Machine, Skunk Anansie, Blur, Kasabian, the Rolling Stones and Primal Scream among many others.

Absolute continued to update its promote tweet throughout the day and monitored it in real time to see what tweets were working best.

Tweeters entering the competition became brand ambassadors, sharing the live updates of our playlist with all their followers. The vast amount of tweets led to 41 different artists trending on twitter and over 76,000 mentions. Absolute estimates it reached 23million tweeters plus more than 100,000 tweets were sent on our #nowplaying trend day.

It picked up 2,500 new followers and racked up 8.5 million trend impressions with a cost per engagement of 4p new followers.