Why Brands Should be Cautious with Promoted Trends

Promoted Trends are one of the three ad products offered by Twitter, the other two known as Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts. Promoted Trends are unique ad products in that they easily generate a conversation with Twitter users, who write tweets revolving around the Promoted Trend keyword. All of these tweets are available to be seen by simply clicking on the Promoted Trend on Twitter’s homepage, giving anyone and everyone easy access to the conversation with your brand.

Over the past few weeks, I have checked out the daily Promoted Trend on Twitter to get a better idea of what consumers using them for. Unfortunately, it seems like many Promoted Trends are not doing what brands are hoping for. Many of the users engaging with the Promoted Tweet are either using it to say negative things about the brand, or not say anything related to the brand at all.

Take, for example, a trend recently promoted by McDonald’s: #Lunchtime. From a strategy side, it makes sense to promote lunchtime, right? The problem is consumers use Twitter to express themselves, and many use it to express their sense of humor:

Obviously this is not the type of content McDonald’s wants to be in (or at least, I would hope not). Another example is on the hashtag #CorporateGreed, where the CWA Union promoted a negative tweet about Verizon wireless. In this case, it wasn’t Verizon that was choosing to promote a trend, but they did become the target of negative PR from it.

Taking a look at the other content around Promoted Tweets makes me wonder what brands are getting out of them. Many of the consumers interacting with the Promoted Tweet aren’t doing so to interact with the brand. They’re doing it to talk to others. To give their opinions. To express themselves. So, the performance metrics look great for the advertiser, but are they doing anything for the brand? That I question.

Take a look at the #Lunchtime promoted trend by McDonald’s again. Notice anything contributing to the McDonald’s brand? Nope. For the most part, it’s teens discussing how much they love lunch at school.

The moral of my findings is this: think twice before using Promoted Trends. If you do, have useful methods for measuring success and be weary of the type of content that may revolve around your brand.

-Bryan Nagy