- Twitter this year is investing more in its mobile app promotion (MAP) platform as part of a broader effort to help marketers with direct response advertising, CFO Ned Segal said during a Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference Call with investors on Feb. 26. The social network aims to improve ad attribution and relevance further down the marketing funnel.
- Video ads have made up more than half of Twitter's ads in the past year, and the company sees video content as part of a media mix that engages users, keeps them informed and urges them to post more tweets. Recent examples of video content include highlights from last year's World Cup soccer tournament, such as clips of goals right after they were scored, Segal said.
- Sporting events demonstrate how Twitter also can amplify a marketing message, such as during this year's Super Bowl on Feb. 3. Thirty of the NFL championship game's 38 TV advertisers also bought ads on Twitter as viewers watched the game while turning to the social community to find more information or engage with other fans, Segal said.
Twitter this year is putting more financial resources and manpower into making its platform more transparent to advertisers and users. That includes ad products like MAP that aim to make ads more measurable and accountable in terms of app downloads. Twitter historically has emphasized brand advertising, and now is doing more work on ads that feature a clear call to action. "We do have some direct response advertising on Twitter but not as much as we should," Segal said in the conference call.
App installs are a key goal for the $101 billion global app industry, whose downloads rose 35% to 194 billion last year from 2016, according to researcher App Annie. Game developers are especially attuned to app install metrics, possibly even more so than usual this year as the video game industry faces declining revenue amid stricter game approvals in China and player fatigue for battle royale titles like "Fortnite," researcher Pelham Smithers told Bloomberg. Social news platform Reddit last month rolled out an ad performance bundle that includes app installs as a campaign goal for the first time, per a company announcement.
Video also has grown increasingly important, although Segal said the company doesn't view video as a destination, which is the strategy for traditional broadcasters or social media companies spending heavily to develop original series. Whether users want to post 280 characters of text, a picture or video, Twitter wants to help them communicate on the platform. "We think about making it so that it's easy for people to discuss what matters," Segal said.
Twitter is experimenting with ways to differentiate its video content from other channels, such as its NBA "iso-cam" that focuses on a single player during some games. The social network also partnered with England's Football Association on a direct message bot that sends video highlights to overseas soccer fans, and the upcoming Women's World Cup in France will be another chance to stream a tournament highlights show to engage U.S. viewers.
The popularity of Twitter among Super Bowl advertisers shows that the platform is well established as a back channel for communication between brands and viewers. Twitter also can be a platform for counter-programming against broadcast TV. Frank's RedHot, the brand of hot sauce marketed by McCormick, hosted a Twitter sweepstakes during the Super Bowl as part of its "I Put That $#!t on Everything" campaign. Instead of a pricey TV spot, Frank's asked viewers to watch other brands' commercials and to tweet emoji interpretations of the ads.