Twitter ads: Déjà vu all over again

Trying to catch up to Facebook in social advertising, Twitter now also targets smaller brands and businesses in South Africa.

Twitter has thus far mostly focused its ad sales efforts on large, corporate accounts. However, its ad sales partner in Africa, Ad:Dynamo, has now appointed a representative to focus on local wineries. They are wooing small and medium-sized businesses onto the platform to use the Twitter advertising options.

Pressing the flesh in the Cape Winelands can’t be the most efficient way to generate the uptake required to catch up to Facebook. The prospect of actually having a human face to put to your social advertising account is quite refreshing, though. This is in contrast to Facebook’s strategy, where you’ve always dealt with a faceless user interface. The interface is very user-friendly, though, Facebook continually upgrades it along with the platform’s revenue model.

Of course, Facebook is the clear market leader. This leadership was attained by pulling a HUGE bait-and-switch. Initially brands were lured with great organic reach. This encouraged them to invest in building large audiences on the platform. Then they steadily dialed down the organic reach and put the screws on. If brands want to talk to and engage with the audiences that they had already invested in, they now need to pay to do it.

Twitter is a latecomer to the social ad space. It used to have the clear advantage in mobile social media, but they wasted that, allowing Facebook to pull far ahead.

Facebook is winning the advertising race

In our experience of using both Facebook’s and Twitter’s advertising products, Facebook’s head start is still clear. While the ability to target the followers of specific other Twitter accounts with Twitter ads is useful, Twitter’s demographic targeting remains very limited. While their ad interface was extremely frustrating until quite recently, they’ve been working on this. It is still rudimentary compared to how Facebook enables businesses and agencies to manage multiple advertising accounts.

The message that Ad:Dynamo is spreading on Twitter’s behalf, leaves us with a definite sense of déjà vu. Remember when Facebook was selling itself as the great equaliser? They were all about helping smaller businesses to punch above their weight and achieve reach without huge budgets. All you had to do was spend ad bucks on building your audience and benefit from all of that great, free, organic reach.

Have you found Twitter ads useful and effective? We’d love to hear what your experiences have been.

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