Aussie tech startups flock to buy promoted tweets: but are they worth it?

Last month, Twitter allowed Australian startups and small businesses to advertise on Twitter for the first time.

 

Since then, Aussie startups of all shapes and sizes – from early-stage ventures to more established businesses – have jumped onboard.

 

The company’s vice president of global online sales, Richard Alfonis, previously told StartupSmart the move was a way to amplify a business’s potential customer base and complement its existing social media use.

 

“We think it’s a vibrant market and we’re excited about expanding our presence here,” he said.

 

“Globally we’ve got millions of businesses on the platform, using it for free, and we’ve been working to convert them to Twitter advertisers. They can amplify the presence they already have.”

 

But how have Australian tech startups found the experience so far?

 

Jessica May, founder of Canberra-based startup Enabled Employment, told StartupSmart she took the opportunity to pay for promoted tweets as soon as Twitter made the announcement.

 

“We’ve had a 2% click-through rate which is pretty good – much higher than ad words,” she says.

 

“And we’ve had 1000 people click through in the last two weeks.”

 

May says her startup has received a strong following on Facebook – with more than 3000 likes – and the reason for buying promoted tweets is to see if Twitter can receive the same level of engagement.

 

“We tested AdWords, Twitter, Facebook. If it works, we replicate it. If it doesn’t work we change it until it works.”

 

May says she has one piece of advice to entrepreneurs thinking of advertising their startup on Twitter: just give it a go. She says she is paying 40 cents per click for Twitter, which is cheap when compared to AdWords where a business could be paying sometimes $2 or $3 per click-through.

 

“We’re really social business. But if you’re not a social business another avenue might be you – which is why I suggest you test everything.”

 

Alex Martell – founder of wine recognition app Vinus – told SmartCompany while he was surprised by the number of retweets and followers his startup got thanks to promoted tweets, he doesn’t think Twitter advertising should be the be all and end all of a startup’s marketing strategy.

 

“So far we’ve seen low, single digit click-throughs,” he says.

 

“The jury is still out on where those will stabilise. But I do expect that the law of diminishing click-throughs will definitely apply to Twitter as it does any other platform.”

 

Martell says he thinks startups should closely monitor their click-throughs and the return on their spend very closely.

 

“As a startup you don’t know which channel is going to work for you and it’s different from startup to startup. But definitely keep it on your list up there with Google AdWords, Facebook and all those other big channels you need to get familiar with. This is definitely at least as effective as any of them.”

 

However, promoted tweets aren’t just for early-stage startups. Zhoe Low, communications manager at BitCoin startup Coinjar, says the business’s most recent promoted tweet saw engagements triple and click-throughs double in comparison to what is normally achieved organically.

 

“We are selective with how many and what kind of tweets we promote, but so far we’ve found that our promoted tweets have wider reach and more engagement,” she says.

 

“As it is targeted, it is more efficient and we are able to reach people who find bitcoin and digital finance interesting and relevant.”

 

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