It’s official: Promoted and organic tweets drive offline sales, says Twitter, and we can prove it

By Elaine WATSON

- Last updated on GMT

Tweets should be engaging and relevant, says Dannon: 'We don’t tweet about the weather outside our HQ'
Tweets should be engaging and relevant, says Dannon: 'We don’t tweet about the weather outside our HQ'

Related tags: Twitter

Is your brand getting some decent bang for the bucks you spend on paid-for (‘promoted’) tweets? The answer, according to a new trial with 35 big names in consumer packaged goods (CPG) including Mondelez, is YES.

FoodNavigator-USA caught up with Twitter after the launch of its new ‘offline sales impact’ service with Datalogix enabling marketers to quantify the impact of promoted (paid for) and organic (regular, not-paid for) tweets on offline sales.

This works by crunching retail loyalty card data with data from Twitter to determine if people exposed to and/or engaging with CPG brands’ tweets actuallybuymore of these brands in stores (as well as having a warm fuzzy feeling about the brands in question).

Brands who actively build their follower base and tweet regularly see the strongest benefits

The trial showed that Twitter users who engaged with a brand’s promoted tweets purchased more from that brand than a control group, resulting in a 12% average sales lift, while sales from users who just viewed - but did not engage with - rose on average by 2%.  

Meanwhile, users exposed to a brand’s organic tweets also bought more from that brand than a control group, producing an 8% average sales lift.

Notably, the lift was nearly three times greater among users who saw 5+ organic Tweets over the measurement period, showing that brands who actively build their follower base and tweet regularly see the strongest benefits, said a Twitter spokesperson.

Promoted-tweet
Paid for tweets are identifiable via the orange 'promoted tweet' icon

A lot of brands were saying, I’ve got this number of Twitter followers, but is this translating into sales?

“Every marketer always asks how Twitter advertising can impact their in-store sales”​,she claimed.“Brands were saying, I’m doing all this on Twitter and I’ve got this number of followers, but is this translating into sales? Now they know.

“We’ve had a lot of call since the results of the trial were announced.”

The encouraging thing for brands without cash to spend on promoted tweets is that the trial shows that regular (‘organic’) tweeting also drives sales, added the spokesperson, who said a lot of clients were “very excited​” to see the results of the trial as it helped to validate their social media activities.

However, the results also showed that it is worth paying for promoted tweets, which mean you can get to the top of the queue in a Twitter timeline, reach a wider audience, and show up when users type in relevant search terms, she added.

If you tweet at 9am, you’re only going to reach your followers that are around at 9am. Premium tweets allow you to ensure your followers see your tweet whenever they log on.”

Mondelez: ‘A significant step in evaluating the power of real-time marketing’

Deep-fried-Oreos
Mondelez: 'This is a significant step in evaluating the power of real-time marketing'

Mondelez International, which participated in the beta testing phase for the tool, said it brought social media activity “even closer to measurable sales impact” ​and represented a “significant step in evaluating the power of real-time marketing”.

Bonin Bough, VP of global media and consumer engagement added: “Many of our brands like Trident, Oreo, and Wheat Thins are very active in the Twittersphere and, with Twitter’s new offline sales impact capability, we will be able to measure the connections between our organic and paid Twitter activity and in-store sales.​”

What works and what doesn’t?

So what kinds of communications work best on Twitter? And how do you avoiding spamming and irritating people you are trying to engage with?

If the objective is to sell more grapes, for example, a tweet with a tip or suggestion (Did you know you can freeze grapes and eat them like candy?) could be just as effective as the hard sell (Grapes are on deal - buy them here now!), said the Twitter spokesperson.

“Brands using a more conversational approach tend to do better.”

Dannon: We don’t tweet about the weather at our headquarters

Oikos-tweet
Tips and suggestions work better than the hard sell, says Twitter

At Dannon, which made the decision to handle all of its Twitter activities in-house rather than using an agency a couple of years ago, told FoodNavigator-USA that engaging with consumers via social media is seen as a core competence.

However, members of the firm’s connection team - which controls its twitter handles such as @oneyogurt​ and @dannon ​plus its brand-specific facebook pages such as Oikos​ - use promoted and non-promoted tweets, said senior director of public relations Michael Neuwirth.

“But we’re mindful. People will unsubscribe from Twitter feeds very quickly​ [if you bore them or spam them]. We err on the side of caution. We don’t tweet about the weather outside our HQ and we look closely at our impressions, rates of engagement, followers, retweets and so on.”

Data protection

The Datalogix process matches unreadable scrambles of email addresses ( or 'hashes') to generate aggregated anonymous reports for advertisers, and doesn’t send Twitter information about individual users’ purchases.

Conversely, the information Datalogix receives from Twitter is not incorporated into its existing data sets about individual users, while the reports Datalogix creates for advertisers include only aggregated anonymous information.

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