@FXCM and @Wendys Make a Mess of Promoted Tweets on 9/11
Promoted tweets on Twitter are an unfortunately problematic marketing tool for many brands. I have featured posts about brands making a mess of them. It seems many brands are unsure how to manage them, and rather than connect with the right target audience and surround themselves with relevant content, they instead are interested in increasing their end numbers. In terms of numbers, they’re interested in the number of shares, replies, and clicks on their promoted tweets- even if it’s not a relevant term. This is problematic. It goes against the core of social media. It goes against the core of marketing. And, often, it becomes a PR disaster.
Take today, September 11th. What do we have? FXCM promoting a tweet off of the “World Trade Center” hashtag. Wendy’s promoting a tweet off the “New York” trend.
Coincidence? No. Bad taste? Yes. PR disaster? Yes.
What can we learn from this? Brands and those managing promoted opportunities on Twitter: be smart. Don’t promote your tweet off of a trend just for the sake of numbers. Make sure your strategy makes sense. Don’t get so worked up about stats. While you may have a ton of clicks on your tweet, they might not be relevant clicks. They could be clicks from people astounded that you’re even promoting off that trend. Be sensitive to the news around you, and realize that Twitter is a real-time environment. Any brand who claims they weren’t anticipating 9/11 terms to trend on Twitter on 9/11 needs to stop, think, and realize it probably wasn’t worth it.
Note: This post does not reflect my opinion of the mentioned companies or their agencies.
I appreciate your concern about this, and I can state that FXCM did not create a campaign to promote tweets surrounding “World Trade Center” and I doubt Wendy’s did yesterday or @OTCStockNews did as their tweet appears right now if you search for “World Trade Center”. This is probably a better question for Twitter as to why it would appear on this topic, and you bet I will be reaching out to our Twitter rep for answers on this.
Thanks for replying Jason.
I have ran Twitter campaigns in the past, and promoted Tweets display against search terms (which would include trends) that the brand (or the agency managing the promoted tweets) chooses. “World Trade Center” could show up with any combination of terms, including “trade”, which I am assuming would be the reason that stock news and “trade” news would show up. It is essentially like search marketing, where you place “bids” against search terms on Twitter (which would also include trends). However, unlike search, in the UI, your bid is not against specific terms, but instead your campaign. Your ad on Twitter should not display unless you are bidding against these specific terms, or items that include these terms (in this unfortunate case, “World Trade Center”.
I can understand why this would be an oversight. However, Twitter is a real-time environment and those managing the campaigns should anticipate that these terms would trend. This has resulted in catastrophic endings for several brands at times, who have unfortunately displayed their ads against negative trending terms, such as during the movie theater shooting this past summer.
Knowing the UI, brands should see a spike in impressions when this happens. Once “world trade center” became trending, any brand targeting those keywords (or similar keywords) should have seen a huge spike in ad impressions. This should signal something to those managing the campaigns. Unfortunately, there are some brands (not saying these brands above did this) that continue the targeting because these numbers are “great and exciting”. As much as we wish this wasn’t the case, it happens often (even in circumstances not in Twitter). This is where many brands lose sight of their target audience for favorability over numbers.
I guess my overall point of this post is to alert to brands (and agencies managing them) that extreme sensitivity is needed when choosing search terms to bid on (and even anticipating what other related terms might be), and that brands should be less concerned with overall metrics than actually placing their impressions (and money) in front of the correct audience.