Advertising Twitter Social Media

'We have a very influential audience': Twitter's pitch to wary advertisers after cleaning up its platform


By Shawn Lim | Reporter, Asia Pacific

October 2, 2018 | 5 min read

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With more than half of Twitter’s ad revenue for 2017 coming through video products, the platform believes advertisers are drawn to its ‘very influential’ video audience.

The social network posted Q1 revenues of $665m, up 21% year-over-year and ad revenue for the period was up 21% year-over-year hitting $575m, with total ad engagements also up 69%, even though its cost per engagement fell 28%.

Its confidence in its audience also comes after it ended June 2018 with 335 million monthly active users, down from the 336 million it reported in the first quarter of 2018, as it continues to prioritise the 'health' of its platform by blocking some inactive, fake or offensive accounts.

With the clean up completed, Ryan Moore, global director of video solutions at Twitter, tells The Drum that advertisers are now coming to Twitter for the audience, the type of people that use it and the way they use it, more than before.

He adds that Twitter is finding there are two ways advertisers are trying to work with the platform, like their business challenges and when they are launching something new, pointing to how Apple worked closely with the company to announce the new iPhone XS on the platform.

“On average, we see that people are 31% more likely to remember what they see on Twitter versus general online browsing. Based on U.S. Nielsen Brand Effect data, people who saw In-Stream Video Ads on Twitter were 70% more likely to recall the brand’s ad, 28% more likely to be aware of the advertiser’s brand, and had a 6% higher purchase intent (versus those not exposed to video ads)," he explains to The Drum on the sidelines of All That Matters 2018.

“There is also the element of the audience trying to find out what is happening immediately in that moment, which means they are super receptive to whatever comes into their stream, which is different from other social networks.”

The encouraging figures that video has brought in for Twitter means that there will be more investment from the company and more products launching, says Moore. “You will also see a big investment from our engineering team in making Twitter more efficient and more measurable.”

“You will see a lot from us in terms of our marketing and communication to our clients, just teaching them, for example, what is the right length of video to run on mobile phones because it is not doing a 60 second TV ad.”

“We talked about the audience trying to find out what is happening immediately in the moment, so the best way to do that is to tune into a livestream. That aligns nicely to a used case for livestreaming.”

Twitter is keen for advertisers, used to marketing on Facebook and Google, to build their brand and drive sales on its platform with its video products like First View, Video Website Cards, and Video App Cards. Its pitch to advertisers seems to be working, with the amount of video consumption doubling per year and prices becoming more efficient.

New restrictions to its ad policies and brand safety

In August, Twitter announced new restrictions to its ad policies that restrict the publishing of sponsored political and issue tweets in the US, in light of social media’s recent issues with the bad actors exploiting looser measures since the 2016 presidential campaign.

In the Asia Pacific region, Twitter is more concerned about brand safety for advertisers and whether the content that their ads, including video, are running in front of is brand safe. It is currently building a ton of engineering effort into building solutions so that there will be brand safety.

“For advertisers, we make a really distinct line around the type of video that they can associate themselves with. One angle is they can run against all user-generated content and another is they can only associate themselves with professionally produced content,” explains Moore.

“We are choosing the second camp, so what you will see a lot more of in the next few years is more partnerships with big TV networks and sports leagues to bring more such content to users.”

Mobile-ready future

Summing up Twitter’s approach, Moore says the company’s work for the foreseeable future is to help advertisers understand when the greatest moments of receptivity are on mobile, how do they reach Twitter's audience in that moment when they are ready to see something and how do they tell a piece that is short and snappy.

He explains that this is because of the way people use Twitter, they seem to be more receptive ads in those moments and about 30% more likely to remember a piece of information, compared to digital.

To keep moving ahead, Twitter also needs to keep focusing on innovating, and bring features that are beneficial to both marketers and users alike, experts like Yuval Ben-Itzhak, chief executive of Socialbakers have previously stated, to remain an attractive platform for advertisers and for users.

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