Twitter has unveiled a new, self-serve advertising subscription for small businesses, which it is calling Twitter Promote Mode. The service has been designed to enable SMEs to more easily run Promoted Tweet campaigns across the Twitter platform, with no requirement to create ads or manage campaigns. Instead, campaigns running via Promote Mode will be entirely automated, on a subscription basis, for $99 (approximately £75) a month.
When Promote Mode is enabled, the first 10 tweets that a business posts each day may be amplified by a Promoted Tweets campaign. The ads that are created will display a small “promoted” badge to indicate that they’re paid-for. This means that for small businesses on Twitter, it can be business as usual, tweeting as they usually do, without needing to do anything special or different. Promote Mode is always-on, and so providing the quality of content is good, Twitter claims that on average, accounts will reach 30,000 additional people and add 30 followers each month. But it also notes that “performance may vary based on factors including your account type, your targeting selection, the type and frequency of your Tweets.”
Above all, Twitter Promote Mode removes a lot of the leg work for small business advertisers. Often due to lack of experience and understanding, SMEs can lack confidence in building their own social media campaigns, and so a service that’s entirely automated is likely to appeal. Designed for accounts with up to 2,000 followers, it’s also nice to see Twitter designing something for the small business market particularly.
The new program also includes analytics, so subscribing businesses can track the impact of their promoted tweets, and assess how well content is performing.
Additionally, Twitter Promote Mode does not replace Twitter ads, and the two can run alongside one another, meaning that businesses can still create individual campaigns if they would like to.
One standout concern is that Twitter is in control of the tweets that get promoted. For tweets to be promoted, they must pass through Twitter’s quality filter. The only control users have is that they can toggle Twitter Promote on or off, as required. As Twitter explains:
“Not every Tweet that is added to your Promoted Tweet campaign will serve an impression, and the extent each Tweet is promoted may vary based on that Tweet’s performance. Retweets, Quote Tweets, or replies will not be promoted. Promote Mode will also run a Promoted Account campaign which will attract new followers.”
Targeting is also limited to five interest or metro locations or regions within a country, which initially may be a good thing, preventing businesses from over-targeting. However in the future, this could turn out to be too restricting, when businesses feel more ready for deeper personalisation.
The subscription model is also questionable, from an SME perspective. Although the monthly fee of $99 is unlikely to be prohibitive for most businesses, those signing-up need to be sure that they are receiving value for money. It’s safe to assume that Twitter has gone with subscription-based pricing due to its declining revenues, which have fallen for four straight quarters, year-on-year. In this way, it can be sure of ongoing monthly revenue from subscribing businesses, moving forward.
A word of warning is that the current subscription fee is also subject to change. According to Twitter’s FAQ about Promote Mode, only those accounts with up to 2,000 followers will see the most value from this subscription at launch, but the company plans to offer additional, higher-priced subscription tiers for accounts with larger followings in the future.
Ultimately there are no guarantees that Promote Mode will be successful for small businesses. The question SMEs need to be asking themselves first is whether Twitter is the right platform the be investing in for them and their customer, but if it makes sense, it could be a model that is well worth trying.