Are Twitter Ads the Equivalent of Lighting Money on Fire?

@Tim | Social

I’ve been playing with Twitter advertising for almost three months now and to say I have not been impressed would be a massive understatement. I’m not sure if it was the initial training call where the presenter couldn’t figure out how to mute all th

e other invitees on the call so we could hear people typing away, having conversations in their office, or doing whatever while she tried to present or if it was the lack of geo targeting on launch leading to bringing in totally awesome followers in Malaysia and other places where our clients don’t do business. (Twitter has since introduced geo targeting, but don’t try and edit your previous ad to include a location because that will usually crash the platform. Then again, every other time I try to log in and create new ads the site goes down.)

Maybe it was the talks with their sales team about the product where they said we would get way better performance if we increased our bid amount on keywords to levels that we are paying on Google, Bing, and Facebook – three sites that actually give us some sort of idea of the audience of the keyword we are bidding on and give us some decent stats around the bidding process. (And so far better quality traffic.) With a limited number of people in the testing pool the bidding shouldn’t be as competitive as it is on other major sites where there is actual large amounts of competition.

I know that Twitter Ads are in a Beta phase right now and I really like Twitter as a platform and want to support their product, but the ad platform is so undercooked and has so many issues that I would caution investing any money into it unless you are a massive brand that can just spend money to get followers, not really caring what they convert to. You know, like the shining examples from the top ten Twitter ads.

So I feel like I am on a bit of rant here, I guess I should be a little more constructive. Here are some suggestions for Twitter on how to improve their product:

Stability- There is nothing more frustrating than when I want to spend money on your product but your service continually throws back errors at me. Having stability within your ad platform is kind of a must have if you want people to spend money.

Transparency- I’d really like to know the value of keywords and the audience they reach when I am bidding on a campaign. It allows for the marketer to make decisions on what they are doing and make choices. Right now I have to blindly submit keywords with no real knowledge except studying the results after the fact. Kind of an inefficient use of my time and speaking of efficiency…

Efficiency- The information around bidding would be awesome. You know what else would be awesome? To be able to clone campaigns so I can A/B test. Having to manually set up a campaign every single time someone wants to try something out is clunky.
As Twitter opens up their platform for more advertisers, I caution companies to think twice about investing in their ad platform. Large companies who can just dump money into followers can get results, ultra local companies that super geo target their ads, and some companies with solid link bait tweets can potentially do well on the platform. If you are very strict around the cost per acquisition of leads or customers, if you are heavily data driven, and if you don’t have a ton of time to spend on your ad sets stay away from Twitter.

I hope their product improves. As of now it hasn’t been a positive experience.

What has your experiences been with the Twitter advertising platform?