Will Twitter Analytics drive advertisers away from paid promotions?

No, say industry experts, who give a thumbs up to the analytics tool that has turned the platform into a one-stop solution for both organic campaigns and paid promotions

e4m by Abhinn Shreshtha
Published: Sep 11, 2014 10:02 AM  | 5 min read
Will Twitter Analytics drive advertisers away from paid promotions?

Twitter recently opened up its analytics tools for all users. From individual users to brands using the platform for organic promotions, everyone can now get access to intelligence that was once available only to paid advertisers.

Agencies, which earlier relied on third party analytic tools, e.g. Tweetreach, Tweetbinder and others, either free or paid, now have access to data straight from Twitter, which is definitely more in-depth and reliable. This is also causing brands to take the platform even more seriously, say digital and social media agencies.

If true, it is a welcome development for Twitter, which depends on paid advertising for revenues. Opening up Twitter Analytics might have been a gamble as it might easily cause clients to shift focus to only organic campaigns as opposed to paid promotions. However, agencies feel this is not the case and, in fact, interest in paid advertisements will increase.

Effective Tool

For example, Gautamm Mehra, Business Head (Social Media) of iProspect Communicate 2, told us that since its launch they have been incorporating data from Twitter Analytics in all their client updates. “It is absolutely brilliant. We always wanted something like this. With access to Twitter API, a lot of enterprise tools will now be able to access this data too,” he said. When asked what the reaction of clients has been so far, Mehra said clients have been positive about it. “People who were earlier doing just a few contests here and there, are now looking at running promoted campaigns because they now have access to detailed reports,” he added.

Simlarily Zafar Rais, Founder-CEO of Mindshift Interactive, highlighted the advantages of Twitter Analytics data, which he said would ensure brands can analyse how their audience engages with their tweets in real time and understand its interests while creating increased relevance in the engagement, due to follower demographics. “With the recent release of analytics for all profiles, the platform has become a one-stop solution for marketers and analysts who are focusing on measuring their organic performance as compared to their ROI on spends, within the ecosphere of Twitter,” he said.

Freedom to Choose

Twitter, itself, does not seem too concerned. Parminder Singh, Managing Director for Twitter (Southeast Asia/India/MENA) said agencies and brands have the freedom to choose what they want. Giving examples of certain promoted campaigns run for Audi and Mercedes, he pointed out that engagement for the brands stood as high as 10-12 per cent in case of certain tweets. “An organic campaign with the right message and at the right time will give you good engagement, but a promoted campaign will give you an even better,” he said.

It should be remembered that Twitter asks for a minimum commitment of 10,000 dollars from brands wanting to carry out promoted campaigns.

Twitter India's $10,000 minimum budget irks agencies, brands

The analytics provided for free might help brands to carry out organic campaigns and also build and increase trust in the platform, encouraging more brands to try out paid campaigns as the next step. “Show numbers to anyone and they are always happy,” reminded Mehra. Singh also explained the concept of the minimum-guarantee amount. “We believe that for a great campaign on Twitter, you need to have a certain commitment that is necessary. This is something we do across Asia-Pacific and it is not just India specific,” he said.

Strategic Move

Over the years, Twitter has enforced certain restrictions on third-party developers that could be seen as an attempt to funnel as many users as possible to the official Twitter app or website. Applications like Twidroyd and Falcon Pro have been some high-profile examples of applications on the receiving end of this strategy. Most recently, it was announced that popular photo-sharing app Twitpic would be shutting down later this month. The reason given was a Twitter legal notice. It is hard not to figure out why Twitter wants people to access the platform through its official application, after all, that is where the paid ads are visible.

Could the opening up of Twitter Analytics be another facet of this strategy; this time aimed at developers of analytics tools? Data is a big part of any advertiser’s strategy and if Twitter controls its analytics, it could make it that much more attractive to agencies and advertisers. Also, data licensing is a lesser known component of its revenue. Bhupendra Khanal, CEO and Founder of Simplify360, a social media data analytics company, feels providers of free tools will die off. “The only advantage they (third party developers) can provide is competitive analysis, i.e. between two different platforms (for example, Facebook and Twitter),” he said.

Comparing Numbers

Another point of view provided by Suveer Bajaj, Founding Partner of FoxyMoron, who has been using the Twitter Analytics to track organic campaigns over the last couple of weeks is that the difference in numbers between Twitter’s and other tools’ analysis is too high. “In some cases we have seen a difference between 1200 per cent. It is not like Twitter is inflating numbers, in fact, their numbers are much lower than other tools available,” he said. However, he agreed that despite having to see how advertisers take this difference, the opening up of Twitter Analytics has created opportunities for advertisers to create media values.

Says Khanal, “The difference in numbers is expected, since third-party apps make estimates while Twitter will provide actual numbers that it has, which will obviously be more accurate. Brands can continue to use data from free tools or others if they are comfortable with it. The question is whether they want to shift to Twitter’s data for new campaigns.”

In a similar vein, Mehra agreed that numbers through the Twitter Analytics did seem lower but he did not think it was cause for worry. “Most of these free tools do not provide information on what a user saw on his timeline during a given moment, while Twitter is able to do that,” he pointed out. 

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