At the beginning of November, one of my accounts received an invite to Twitter’s automated ads beta program. The email read:
“We’re expanding our automated ads pilot program and invite you to participate in our private beta.
For $99 a month automatically promote your Tweets and profile to expand your audience and attract new followers.
In this program you’ll be able to reach thousands of new people and steadily grow your influence each month, without creating or managing campaigns.
Just Tweet normally and enjoy the extra reach and follower growth.
In my waking life, I deal with advertising and marketing for a tech company. I’ve used all kinds of placement tools, but typically disregard Twitter as its ROI has been pretty low. The biggest issue with Twitter advertising in the past has been the enormous amounts of bot clicks and impressions. I’m not into that. In general, I’ve found very few places where social advertising is effective. I think most people are wary of anything that says “PROMOTED” these days, and in order to be effective – your promoted pieces have to have some serious value to the demographic that you’re targeting.
That being said…
I’m always up for trying new things, and decided I’d give this beta program a whirl. Yeah, $100/month is a steep price, but I’ve spent hundreds in the past for campaigns that have run just days – so maybe there’s some potential for value add. I wanted to try the program for two reasons:
- Practical reason: If there’s more positive engagements with real users, this program could save me a lot of time doing placements on legitimate accounts.
- My personal account is clearly not the target for this program. I post complete trash 24/7. I also have a low follower count.
I knew, that If I had managed to keep my publication’s account strictly focused on new articles and content – these promoted tweets could actually be beneficial. I read through Twitter’s best practices for tweeting. They recommended I tweet 8x a day with a variety of material that my audience could find useful or entertaining.
I think since I’ve signed up, I’ve tweeted about 4x a day on average and most of it is nonsense.
So, how’s it turned out?
Sometimes you want promoted and sometimes you don’t:
I’ve been pretty surprised by the amount of real interactions I’ve had to posts. In an attempt to hit 8 tweets a day, I’ve posted fairly insubstantial material. Some tweets are whimsical, some focused on crypto, and a lot of them I wish I could select “DO NOT PROMOTE”. The beta program doesn’t really give you an option on which tweets are promoted and that’s somewhat of a problem for an individual user.
Again, if I were posting constant company news or updates, this would be pretty beneficial – especially considering the human engagement.
“Why is this promoted?”
This has been the most common reply to most of my tweets. I’m apparently not alone. If you search Twitter for the phrase, you’ll see it comes up again and again. One interesting aspect to the Twitter promotion climate is the amount of shitposting that attaches itself to promoted company tweets.
The environment is a lose / lose for most companies. There’s too much polarization within the user-base, so you whether you’re promoting a phone or a website that saves kittens – users are going to respond sarcastically. This can be frustrating for a lot of companies trying to justify the cost of purchasing ads, promoted posts, or hiring a social media marketer. (I’d like to write a larger piece of the exhausted nature of internet marketing.)
Lucky for me, this has been part of the fun. Bemused and encouraged by the onslaught of the question – I’ve tried to make tweets that are more and more substance-less.
Before I began the program, I made sure to post a future apology. I’ve been linking that tweet to most people who call my promoted posts out.
I'm sorry ahead of time for apparently what just happened. Forgive me in the future when you read this
— rwx (@robek_world) November 9, 2017
Enjoy a sampling of my terrible posts:
why is this a promoted tweet?
Idky promoted this tweet but it worked
— Indianapolis' J-Rose 💛 (@thisisjrose) November 17, 2017
If you have little experience running social media campaigns and are looking to grow your audience or engagements – I honestly think this promotion subscription is an okay deal. Most companies have a social budget and to have an algorithm efficiently place your tweets in the feed will save you a lot of headache from a poorly mismanaged campaign. If you are a social media marketing genius – you’re better off doing placements that you are used to.
My followers have gone up over the past month and I’m not sure why. Twitter does seem to properly display tweets to the correct demographic. My demographic is cynical shitposters and the audience responding is most definitely from my corners of the web.
I’m considering implementing it on the company’s feed – though I don’t believe we have enough of a regular posting schedule to be effective. If I were still at the agency, there’s several companies I’d recommend adopt the subscription – simply to save themselves some money.
If you’ve run into my posts during this experiment, or discovered this review through it – I wish I could say I was pretending to be smart. Most of the time I’m uncertain as to what I’m saying. I think I’m deep but when everything you post is vapid, it makes it impossible for an audience to relate.
DO try this if you are a small company that tweets a lot. Subscription justifies its cost with a flow of steady engagements to decently relevant targets.
DON’T try this if you are a chronic shitposter who thinks you’re funny.
Also published on Medium.