Brands aren’t giving up on Twitter just yet, but they are shifting their focus
Twitter may be waning in popularity among some publishers, but marketers aren’t discounting the platform entirely, at least not yet. While the platform has become less compelling to brands from a marketing perspective, it remains a crucial arrow in their customer service quiver.
Twitter continues to be a consideration in the content and social media strategies of brands interviewed for this story, including Marriott, Wendy’s, T-Mobile, Taco Bell and Patrón — but perhaps not as prominently as it once did. Patrón, for example, hasn’t decreased its focus on Twitter but has adjusted it to match the platform’s role in its customer experience strategy, according to its vp of digital marketing Adrian Parker.
“Patrón is very active on the channel and has the largest following among alcohol brands because it still connects to our audience’s cultural and personal passions,” Parker said. “But brands cannot live by tweets alone, so any balanced marketing mix needs to evolve.”
The same is true for Marriott, which runs four real-time global marketing command centers across the world, including in Washington D.C., Miami, London and Hong Kong. The full-time centers feature content producers, data analysts and graphic designers, who monitor and produce social content for its roster of global hotel brands. And according to Matthew Glick, senior director of global creative and content marketing, Twitter is still very useful, particularly for “evergreen and ad hoc content.”
“We’ve always looked across the spectrum, talked to our customers where they are and never gone all-in on one platform versus another,” he said. “But since our brands and properties lend themselves to visual content, more customers are now talking to us on platforms like Instagram than before.”
Brands routinely take to Twitter to jump in on live, topical and real-time discussions, but that doesn’t mean that the platform has worked for them from a paid perspective. In fact, according to a September 2016 survey by RBC Capital Markets, marketing departments are increasingly unwilling to advertise on the platform. Thirty percent of the respondents didn’t spend any money advertising on Twitter, up 5 percentage points from February 2016.
While Twitter struggles to attract more media spend, Facebook, Instagram and, for some, Snapchat are better bets, with their big audiences, strong visual features and better advertising products. These platforms are putting forward more options, thereby giving marketers greater flexibility, said Sarah Darling, media channel director at VML.
“Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have been continually updating and improving ad formats, targeting options, and placements to meet the needs and objectives of advertisers,” she said. “It’s not that Twitter is completely irrelevant, but it’s rarely our first consideration now.”
For Ben Kunz, vp of marketing and content at Mediassociates, another drawback is that audience targeting doesn’t quite scale on Twitter the way it does on Facebook and Instagram, which he said typically provide more solid reach than the former. Facebook also trumps Twitter in terms of advertising performance metrics, working well for both engagement metrics and direct-response KPIs.
“Twitter relatively sucks when it comes to advertising, while Facebook and Instagram rock,” said Ben Kunz, svp of marketing and content at Mediassociates. “We rarely put Twitter on media plans anymore.”
The reason other platforms are seizing greater attention away from Twitter despite its efforts and products like Moment and Amplify, according to RPA’s manager of digital strategy Mike Dossett, is because it isn’t innovating and releasing new products at a fast enough clip.
“There’s a general conservatism around protecting the immense core value of what Twitter means to the broader global culture and to its loyal power users,” he said. “And in protecting that value, there has been some latency in developing new breakthrough opportunities for brands to build a more evolved identity or experience.”
‘You’re not going to get it all right’: IBM CMO Michelle Peluso on managing through a crisis
As marketers manage another crisis, they are thinking about how to help their teams as well as how they should be advertising.
‘Stand for something’: As protests continue, tone-deaf influencer marketing is in the spotlight
Questions about diversity in influencer marketing, opportunism and the need for brands to get comfortable with influencers taking a stance on politics and racial issues are bubbling up now as this may be a moment of self-reflection for the influencer marketing community.
‘There isn’t a talent pipeline problem’: Confessions of a black advertising exec
In this edition of our Confessions series, in which we exchange anonymity for candor, we hear from a black media buyer who believes brands need to do more to support for Black Lives Matter and that agencies still haven't truly changed their hiring policies.
SponsoredVideo: Marketers discuss the future state of less interruptive in-stream ads
In a new video, experts from GumGum, The Martin Agency and Pinterest discuss the future of video advertising — and outline their vision for how video ads can be less disruptive.
Member ExclusiveDigiday Research: Over half of brands say they handle marketing ‘mostly’ with internal resources
Digiday’s quarterly benchmarking survey found that about 83% of marketers are managing their marketing either mostly in-house or completely in-house. That's up from the 55% of marketers six months ago who said the same.
Member Exclusive‘Our job is to sell’: Marketers, moving past coronavirus response, return to selling products
Marketers need to get back to the job at hand: Keeping the squeaky wheels of capitalism turning.