Flashy charts and stats are undeniably sexy for marketers regardless of what’s being measured or how. Twitter is very sexy in this regard, providing its advertisers with visually clean and easy to navigate analytics that reveal the impact of their advertising spend.
But Twitter’s analytics has only scratched the surface of what B2B marketers really need to effectively measure return on investment (ROI) of both organic and paid Twitter usage. While 85 percent of B2B marketers use Twitter, only 50 percent of that same group find it to be effective. I’d go on to speculate that every one of the 1,200+ people who were surveyed have different opinions about what “effective” means in terms of Twitter usage and ROI. There’s clearly a disconnect, where B2B marketers feel they should be using Twitter—but don’t understand why.
So where’s the problem? Twitter makes it easy for brands to measure audience engagement on its own platform with sacred metrics such as clicks, retweets, follows, and replies. Receiving thousands of retweets is seen as a major social media victory, and it’s hard to deny the inherent branding value of so many social engagements. Further, Twitter’s release of “conversion tracking” late last year offers even deeper insights into how advertising on the platform drives desired actions, while its new lead generation cards cater heavily to the B2B marketer’s need to drive form completions to acquire new contacts.
It all comes down to this: Twitter should start addressing B2B marketing the way that B2B marketers do. It must answer questions such as: Why do follows and retweets ultimately matter? What sort of impact is Twitter making on my brand?
Twitter can be great for building brand awareness, educating and engaging your social audiences, and generating leads. In 2013 Twitter co-sponsored a B2B-focused study with Compete that spoke to its ability to increase website traffic, lift brand consideration, and drive conversions. While each of these are great capabilities, Twitter should look to win over marketing budgets through enhanced analytics.
Prove ROI With Full-Funnel Marketing Metrics
Given its length and complexity, the B2B buying process is rightly considered a “journey” – one where marketers must align different objectives, strategies, and metrics at different stages to more effectively guide their prospects towards a purchase. Consider how marketers use and measure online display advertising today. Its data-driven nature demands a deeper understanding of performance beyond ad impressions, clicks, and conversions, requiring the use of metrics that show its impact throughout the buying process. Display and social advertising platforms are uniquely positioned to influence audiences at every stage of the buyer’s journey, and the best platforms allow you to measure it.
With conversion-tracking for its advertisers, Twitter has taken a critical step towards helping marketers measure “bottom-funnel” strategies aimed at lead generation. But it could be doing much more by taking a cue from the world of online display advertising. The website tagging required to use conversion tracking puts Twitter behind the marketer’s firewall, and represents a massive opportunity for Twitter to help its marketers and advertisers better understand its impact on branding and engagement using their own (first-party) data.
Let’s consider just a few insights that Twitter could directly provide to its advertisers with tagged websites
- New visitors driven by Twitter
- Page views per visitor that has engaged with your tweets vs. those who haven’t
- Visits per visitor that has engaged with your tweets vs. those who haven’t
- Actions or conversions per visitor that has engaged with your tweets vs. those who haven’t
With data like this, marketers could realize the value of advertising through Twitter far beyond lead generation, and see how it influences brand awareness and engagement earlier in the buying process. Still more compelling, these same metrics could be used to measure organic (unpaid) Twitter usage, encouraging an active presence on its platform even without advertising.
While Wall Street is bearish on Twitter after its Q1 earnings results, I’m bullish for its opportunity in the B2B advertising market. By building tools that offer a full-funnel approach to strategy and measurement, Twitter would undoubtedly gain the confidence of B2B marketers everywhere.
This is a guest post from Pete Schott, Product Marketing Manager at Bizo. Pete is responsible for social, content and product marketing at Bizo, which specializes in business audience marketing. He has a background in both marketing and sales with several San Francisco start-ups.