In the latest update from Twitter, the Internet microblogging leader has released a service for mobile app promotion. With it, app developers are able to drive engagement and installs by promoting tweets and using “app cards” with snippets of information about the app. The promotion technique works hand-in-hand with Twitter’s audience targeting capabilities and lets companies customize their promoted tweets to draw the attention of a potential customer. As mentioned in an article on Mobile World L!VE, Twitter will charge companies that promote tweets when users click through to the App Store or Google Play, or when a user opens their app through Twitter.
Considering Twitter’s deep audience targeting capabilities and its hundreds of millions of users, these promotional techniques seem to offer companies the chance to gain customers through social media. This is a particularly useful way to gain app penetration in a market. It’s also a way to make social media effective for acquisition, which is a challenge for many marketers. New research by Gigaom notes that marketers find social very effective for brand awareness and customer retention, but that it lags behind other tactics when it comes to acquisition and conversion.
This approach does come with two big downsides, though. First off, it’s paid. Brands will have to pay Twitter for each click or app open. So if you’re thinking of a scalable approach, this could get expensive at large volumes. Also, keep in mind that just because a brand is paying to get their content in front of consumers doesn’t mean that they’ll trust it. New research by Forrester states that only 18% of consumers trust content from brands on social media. Promoted content still comes from your brand, so it’s still looked at skeptically by consumers.
Adding a referral marketing program as an acquisition channel can boost acquisition through social. Forrester also found that 66% of consumers trust what people they care about suggest. By incentivizing people to refer your brand on social media using referral marketing, you promote your company in a way people will trust. And if you think paid promotion could help your company, consider referral marketing as well. Both are ways to attack mobile marketing and get more people interested in your brand and products.
Twitter undoubtably will continue to operate at the forefront of advertising technology, and companies should look seriously at taking advantage of paid Twitter options to get the word out. But they should also think more broadly and look at acquisition tactics outside of paid media. Referral marketing allows your company to use your existing customers — people who already have proven to enjoy your products or services — to advocate for your brand. People listen to what their friends have to say. And marketers who use referrals can acquire up to 50% of their new customers with it.
Using paid and earned social media in combination is all part of your balanced marketing diet.