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It’s clear by now that Twitter is in trouble. The company’s primary source of revenue is advertising, and advertising revenue has been in freefall recently. In Q2 2017, advertising revenue fell by nearly 20 percent from the year-earlier quarter, from $535 million to $439 million. So Twitter is now rolling out a new “automated promotion” feature for the super-low price of just $99 a month.
How the new Twitter promotion works
Here’s what you get for $99 every month: Twitter will take your daily tweets and promote them to the wider Twitterverse for you, without the need for you to take any steps at all. In addition, Twitter can also promote your profile. At the outset, you’ll simply tell Twitter what types of people to show these tweets to (i.e. users with similar interests), as well as which geographic areas are best for you. Then, at the end of the month, you’d get a summary of showing your additional reach and engagement. And, presumably, you’d also see a slight uptick in the number of your followers.
The idea might work for certain kinds of small businesses. The price ($99 per month) is reasonable enough that it won’t break your marketing budget, and the automated nature of the service means that you don’t need to staff up with a new social media-savvy marketing team.
A use case scenario for “automated promotion”
Imagine, for example, you’re a Philadelphia-based coffee shop. You might not have a huge marketing budget, but you’re interested in letting people know more about your location. And you’re also interested in people stopping by your location to pick up some high-margin menu items beyond just coffee. So you tweet out a few photos of customers enjoying your delicious coffee and menu items. And you tweet out promotional discount codes and news of upcoming specials.
Then, you let Twitter handle all the heavy lifting. Twitter sends out all these photos, links, codes and promotions to people in the Philadelphia area, as well as to local coffee influencers. Every day, for 30 days, Twitter is working for you. Some people will start following you on Twitter, others will use the discount codes to buy stuff from you, and still others might stop by to see what all the buzz is about. If you happen to sell an additional 50 cups of coffee a month (@ $2.00 per coffee), then you’ve essentially broken even for the month. You paid $99 for Twitter promotions, and sold $100 worth of extra coffee.
Does “automated promotion” really have a future?
The new “automated promotion” service is still in private beta, and is currently only being offered to people who have experimented with Twitter Ads in the past, but it’s easy to see how this advertising feature could be easily rolled out to a much larger set of people once all the inevitable bugs have been worked out.
When it comes to marketing online, you have to be open-minded. The idea of paying $99 a month for anything might strike some as absurd, but you have to consider what the breakeven point is for your company. If you’re selling $100 designer T-shirts at a funky boutique in Philadelphia, the breakeven point is pretty easy to reach – all you have to do is sell one extra T-shirt each month and you’ve paid for the monthly Twitter promotion.
Even if this new Twitter advertising feature is not big enough to move the needle on overall advertising revenue, it could open the door to other types of advertising features that will appeal to small businesses, brand owners, and Twitter power users.