If you’ve ever read any articles on PPC marketing using AdWords, you'll know all about their Quality Score algorithm — which, in a nutshell, rewards advertisers who create very engaging ads with much lower costs per click and more prominent ad placement. This makes a ton of sense because obviously Google doesn’t want to annoy their users with low quality ads.
Just this year, Facebook introduced a Quality Score of its own, called Relevance Score, that determines your ad cost and placement on Facebook. But what about Twitter? Does the Twitter ad campaign platform employ a similar algorithm for rewarding the most engaging ads and punishing junk ads?
Recently I discovered the existence of a Quality Score in Twitter Ads (or “Quality Adjusted Bids” as Twitter sometimes refers to it) and today, I’m going to share with you several ways to maximize your ROI on Twitter Ads by hacking this algorithm that Twitter uses to decide if your ads should be displayed or not, and how much you pay if people engage with your ads.
What is Twitter Ad Campaign Quality Adjusted Bids?
Twitter Ads does indeed leverage a Quality Score of its own and although there was no formal announcement, Twitter has recently confirmed that they use it. Check this out — it’s buried in a new section in the Twitter Ads Help documentation:
A few months ago, this section of the guide didn’t exist.
So what does Twitter Ads Quality Score actually do and how do you find out if your Quality Scores are any good or not?
Well for starters, you can’t actually see your “Quality Adjusted Bid” in your Twitter Ads Manager — it remains a hidden internal metric for now.
Regardless, Twitter Quality Adjusted Bid isn’t some arbitrary metric you can ignore, believe me. My research shows that, as with Google AdWords, increasing your Quality Score on your Twitter Ads actually earns you a huge “click discount”:
In fact, on average, for every 1 point increase in the engagement rates of your Ads, you see a 5 percent decrease in cost per engagement.
What does this mean for your Twitter Ads campaigns?
Well, if you can get engagement rates up to 60 percent or so, the cost per engagement becomes one penny. If you can get it to 36 percent, it’s two pennies. Check this out:
As your engagement rate and therefore your Quality Score continues to fall to 7 percent, you’re talking more like 8 cents, which is an 800 percent change.
If your engagement is really awful, like say 0.14 percent, you’re paying a whopping $2.50 per engagement, as shown here:
Yikes. That’s over 250 times more expensive than promoting a high engagement ad! Why overpay for your ads like that when you could just as easily boost your Twitter Quality Scores and get way better rates?
I’m going to show you how to do just that. Ready?
Hack the Twitter Ad Campaign Quality Score Algorithm
1. Stay fresh.
The above snapshot from the Twitter Ad Campaign Engagement panel shows the number of Twitter impressions accrued by one of my Twitter ad campaigns. Notice how the number of ad impressions per day declines over time. Twitter wants to show users the freshest content, so as time goes on, they’re less and less likely to bother showing my promoted Tweet.
Why would Twitter want to aggressively show content that’s over a week old? Keep in mind that ads on social are going to fatigue pretty quickly and you should plan different variations more often, rather than running the same ones for lengthy periods.
2. Promote your winners.
Rather than paying over $2 a click for promoting low engagement crap, promote your tweets that are already doing well.
With this tweet, for example, I ended up getting 1,500 retweets and 100,000 visits referred from Twitter to that piece of content — and all for $250.
The thing is, using paid promotion of high-engagement tweets on Twitter will often give your organic performance a boost, because people will want to share this awesome tweet they’re seeing with their own networks. You don’t pay for the RTs and engagements it gets after that.
On the other hand, if you’re promoting content no one wants to engage with or share, you’re going to pay more for each click, and you’re going to see little if any free organic engagement.
I don’t promote every tweet — far from it. I promote the top 1-3 percent of status updates with 15 percent or greater engagement rates, which typically results in Cost Per Engagement of one penny when I do.
3. Narrow your targeting.
You’re going to kill your engagement and Quality Score if you’re blasting your tweets out there to too wide an audience.
Remember, relevance is key to engagement. Go after micro-audiences of 100,000 or even 10,000 people using Twitter’s super powerful ad targeting options.
Twitter offers a ton of demographics targeting and there are many other amazing Twitter Ads targeting strategies you can use: keyword targeting, Twitter remarketing, device targeting, and Partner and Lookalike Audiences.
And here’s an example of how I was able to increase Tweet engagement to a local event by over 3.5 times by leveraging geo-targeting – in this case, by narrowing the ad targeting people who live in South Florida:
Using social media is no longer an option–it’s practically a requirement for small businesses who want to connect with their customers. While the tools change almost daily, the goal stays the same: interact with customers and create trust. If you’re late to the bandwagon (or just want the latest), start here.
We now know that not every age group uses social media the same, and it’s important to know where your target market falls. For example, the 35-44 year old span uses Facebook and Twitter the most, while teens have twice as many social friends as this group. Knowing that the average social network user is 37 years old can be helpful when planning your social media marketing strategy.
Does your business even need a website anymore? Many say that a solid Facebook Page can serve the purpose of a static website, with better results. The key is to keep it interesting and continually expand your network. And where you might push your product on your website, a hard sell is less well-received on a Facebook Page.
Despite the flurry of social media contests, they may not be as effective as marketers want to believe. Giving away something for free makes it difficult to target the people that enter, and simply having someone Like your Facebook wall or retweet a message isn’t all that valuable, says Social Times. People who enter social media contests aren’t likely to stick around after the contest is over, so think it through the next time you want to give away an iPad to get more customers.
Managing Your Reputation Online
Your reputation is no longer in your own hands; it’s now in the hands of your customers. And if they’re not happy, there are dozens of places they can complain about you. The key is to monitor and manage what’s being said about you online, and remain transparent in your response. What not to do? Don’t argue with your customer, and don’t fake positive reviews of your business.
When you do get a bad review online, take appropriate steps to address the issue. First, contact the customer and see if you can amend the situation one on one. Then, apologize, remembering that the customer is never more right than when they’ve publicly blasted you. A free product or gift card can go a long way to soothe ruffled feathers. Next, ask the customer to repost a revised review, considering the efforts you’ve made toward amending the situation.
SEO Best Practices
Even if you’re a newbie to search engine optimization, you should still use analytics to better understand where traffic to your site is coming from. Free tools like Google Analytics go a long way in telling you what pages people like, how much traffic you’re getting, and what keywords draw in the most visitors. Analytics should be a part of your overall internet marketing strategy, as you can see which tools are working the best.
Are your keywords outdated? If so, you’re missing out on higher rankings on search engine results. Freshening up your keywords to what’s being searched for now can go a long way to put you in Google’s favour. Use your analytics (see above) to make sure your new keywords are getting the traffic you want.
Where Google+ Will Fall
With so many social media users and business owners still on the fence about Google+, many ask how Google will weigh search results using its social site. Will Google give higher priority to content produced through Google+? If so, it’s sure to lose users faster than Google Buzz or Wave. After such social failures, Google would do well to tread lightly.
Despite the question of whether Google will turn to a despot with the adoption of Google+, Chris Brogan says to jump on the bandwagon anyway. By connecting with others on the platform, small businesses can expand their networks, even if Google+ isn’t quite ready to roll out business profiles.
When David Meerman Scott wrote his book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR, in 2007, social media was innovative. If you were using it, you were light years ahead of the competition. Now, the gap is closing, with more companies using social tools to market. But small businesses are still behind, with around half not using social media at all. It’s not clear why so many are reluctant to get social, but Scott provides some tips for getting started. The key, he says, is sharing valuable content and avoiding hype. Focus instead on how your products can help others.
By now most companies are realizing the value of having a solid social media strategy, and for many that means spending more and more time and resources on that strategy. It may have started innocently enough where looking at your metrics and posting an interesting article every day was enough, but now more money needs to be spent.
Simply put, understanding and measuring social media ROI can help give you an insight into how much money or valuable feedback you’re really making.
Measuring Social Media ROI
Unfortunately, calculating this number isn’t quite a “simply put” situation. This can be so time consuming that companies are still pushing this task to the side. Not only is it time-consuming, but trying to calculate costs for a project like social media is difficult by nature. It’s tough to know how much money you make off of something that focuses so heavily on brand reputation and connections, not sales.
Nevertheless, it can be done (hint: It’s not about counting up likes or follows). Digital Marketing Consultant Shane Barker gave a detailed article with a few ideas. Below are a few of those thoughts mixed in with some of our own ideas for measuring social media ROI. Remember, no number is going to be perfect, but it’s good to have an idea.
What Are Your Conversion Goals for Social Media?
The first step is simple: Don’t forget to really take the time to think about what you want people to do or get out of your social media efforts. For some the number of followers or likes may matter, but for most this should not be the end-all-be-all. Good conversion goals might include having people click on a link or sign up for a newsletter, for example. It’s as simple as that.
Once you know your goals, it’s important to have a system for tracking your conversions. For major networks like Facebook and Twitter there are already built-in analytics to help you track where your conversions are happening. Things like reach, website traffic, and customers are great metrics to look at to find out more about your conversions. For most companies this is where social analysis stops, but taking things one step further can help give you a better understanding of ROI.
Give Your Conversions Rough Monetary Values.
Knowing the average lifetime value of your customers is important. Ask yourself: How much is a customer worth overall?
This is where Barker offers a great formula with this mentality in mind. Simply take your average lifetime value and divide that by the total number of users. Multiply that number by your number of new customers and you’re set with a monetary value for each customer conversion.
Give a Monetary Value to the Benefits You’re Gaining from Social.
Once you have your number for the value of each conversion, multiply that by however many of them actually complete a conversion. For example, if each conversion is worth $20 and you had 100 customers subscribe to your blog, then your benefits would be 20X100. That’s $2,000 that your social media channel is worth.
How Much Do You Actually Spend on Your Social Strategy?
Another easy step for measuring social media ROI is to be sure to think about how much you’re actually spending on your current social efforts. In the last step you considered the benefits that maybe didn’t have monetary value, but if you have hired a social media expert, paid for ads on social media, etc., then that all needs to be included in your calculation.
Do the Math.
The last and final step to measuring social media ROI is to take all of the numbers and data and then come up with a rough estimate. Take your total profit and then subtract all costs. To get a percentage, take this number and multiply by 100 and then divide by your costs.
Finally, I recommend doing this for each social network separately if looking at your social media as a whole isn’t helpful. Because each social network is so different, you could easily find ROI numbers that are also very different.
In the end, it’s important to remember that just because social media is so important doesn’t mean that it will be beneficial to you regardless. You have to work for it, and if you’re spending more than you’re making then you aren’t really getting any true benefit in the end.
In other words, social media can be beneficial for every single type of company, but only if done correctly. In order to make sure you’re on the right path, calculating and measuring social media ROI is a must.