Jul 6, 2011

Twitter Promoted Tweets

Recently, some of our Twitter followers have noticed MailChimp’s Promoted Tweets.

wow, atlanta’s own @mailchimp ponying up for a promoted tweet — they must be doing alright…Tue Jul 05 13:05:04 via HootSuite

We’ve been experimenting and learning a lot, so we wanted to share our experience in hopes that you’ll find it interesting or useful.

When we were first given access to the Promoted Tweets beta, I spent lots of time brainstorming with Ben and our marketing team. We wanted to be sure that if we were going to run any tweet campaigns, they absolutely wouldn’t annoy our users or reflect poorly on the MailChimp user experience.

Our first idea was to align our Promoted Tweets to a particular event that we were sponsoring, like the dodgeball Tournament of Chimpions, part of the Interlink Conference in Vancouver. The idea was to login to Twitter and set up a promoted campaign targeting the #interlinkconf hashtag, and have it run through the duration of the event. This means that anytime someone searched Twitter for #interlinkconf, they’d see MailChimp’s promoted tweet at the top of the list. Kind of like this:

promoted tweet at top of twitter search


The problem with promoting tweets that have a definite start and end time, however, is that they come and go and are easy to forget to schedule. (D’oh!) And while we missed out on a number of event-based opportunities, we did have some fun with this promoted tweet for An Event Apart Atlanta:

AEA promoted tweet

Most people attending the event found this amusing, but one fellow wasn’t so pleased:

AEA spammy tweet

Fast forward to sometime last week when we noticed that a competitor was creating Promoted Tweets and bidding on our brand name as a keyword. That’s not really a big deal in and of itself, since it’s the kind of thing that happens with Google Adwords all the time. But the content of these particular tweets was unsavory and misleading, and literally had nothing to do with MailChimp. So we did what any self-respecting brand would do, and started our own little "brand integrity" Promoted Tweets campaign.

Overall, the effects seem positive. We’ve got a nice place to highlight useful tips or blog posts, and when people retweet them, that provides some extra brand exposure perhaps leading to some new followers. Increasing our follower count definitely isn’t our goal though, and we genuinely want to provide useful information about using MailChimp that you may not be aware of. Furthermore, since the lifespan of a typical tweet is relatively short, I’m making sure to update the promoted content every 48 hours or so.

Haters Gonna Hate

haters gonna hate

As I mentioned before, the biggest challenge we’ve faced with Promoted Tweets has been the annoyance factor. If you’re at a conference and have an ongoing Twitter search for a particular hashtag that we’ve purchased as a keyword, the Promoted Tweet can encroach on screen real estate. The problem becomes exacerbated if you’re using an iPad or netbook, since those have even fewer on-screen pixels available.

And this guy got pretty pissed off about the whole Promoted Tweets thing in general, so we went ahead and shared the backstory via LongReply. But overall, the response has been positive and people seem to enjoy learning about the neat little MailChimp hacks we share.