Commentary

My 6-Month Test Of Twitter's Promote Mode

It was the best of times, it was the tweets of times, it was the age of November 2017, and Twitter began promoting its “Promote Mode” service.

A mere $99 each month got one access to the platform’s feature that would promote what Twitter’s algorithm deemed the “best” content a user’s account offered.

Then you heard nothing about the feature for a while.

Months later, even though Promote Mode was still in beta, Twitter began marketing the feature again.

And I took the bait to see if it had changed since the last roundup of write-ups.

So, is it worth it?  Here’s what happened while testing my own account.

Day 1:
Hastily get the idea to test Promote Mode on my own account (@LauraBedrossian). Sign up without seeing if my company will reimburse me.

Given two options in the setup—interests or locations—I decide to target based on “interests.” Twitter does not caution users to “create a strategy.”

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Day 2:
Decide to curate [throw in some] more tweets focused on the areas I indicated I wanted to target (e.g., my profession: social media, communications, marketing, etc.). I immediately see that Twitter “likes” that, since the “tweets promoted” number in my dashboard rises and seems to promote more of that specific content. This makes sense, as it is in line with my target topics.

Day 4:
Engagement shoots up when a comedian from a show I love responds to a tweet of mine. Engagement is high and I see that Twitter does not include these metrics in its “Promote Mode” analytics (which is separate from your normal insights).

Day 5:
I have gained three new followers and a 5% increase in “reach.”

The promote mode dashboard allows you to view data in 30-day chunks, with data for
-- The number of people your promoted tweets have reached
-- The number of followers you’ve gained through the promoted tweets
-- The number of visits to your Twitter profile from the promoted tweets
-- The number of tweets promoted

Day 24:
Get a few porn bots following me. Twitter counts this as part of my following via Promote Mode.

Day 56:
Nothing of significance happens, outside of realizing I am not Twitter-famous yet.

Day 77:
Lose approximately 50 followers as Twitter “cleans house” to remove tens of millions of bots. This is not factored into analytics regarding paying for said promote mode. Twitter’s analytics do not provide specificity around followers gained or lost through Promote Mode.

Day 93, 123, 154 (respectively):
Forget that I need to cancel Promote Mode. Get charged, so decide to keep running my test.

Finally set up a calendar reminder to cancel for December.

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My results from the six months:

-- +45 new followers
-- An average of 80% more reach on a monthly basis
-- 229 tweets Twitter felt were worth promoting — but I am unable to tell exactly which of my tweets were promoted. This data is not provided. Twitter simply provides the timeline in which your tweet was promoted and assures it fits Twitters ad standards.

Would I do it again? If it were free.

Would I pay for this again? Only if the algorithm changes enough to get me higher results (more target followers) and provides more details about analytics and tweets that worked so I could optimize my posts.

I would be very interested to see if and how this rolls out for users and brands with larger audiences.

This method takes the control out of your hands, so it may be a good option for small businesses or individuals who need/want a small boost to follower counts.

If you’re a larger business or brand testing it, this should just be one piece of your Twitter paid strategy. Even though you can target by interest, what Twitter deemed promotable seemed strange sometimes, and not within the interests I laid out.

The analytics, while clear in the dashboard, get a bit muddled when you toggle between each 30-day set. For example, followers gained were shown through the duration of my use of the feature, but engagement was only provided within the 30-day window. It’s not clear how that information is laid out. It’s also separate from your Twitter Analytics account.

Still want to go all in on Promote Mode?

A few ideas to make it work:

Have a strategy and tweet consistently and about a clear topic(s). (I cannot be tamed, so Promote Mode probably was confused by my tweets). This is not a shocking or groundbreaking idea, but it’s certainly key.

Know thatbecause you don’t have control of what’s promoted, Twitter may promote something inappropriate with something that is trending, so you have to manually pause the subscription to make sure this does not occur.  I didn’t face this problem during my test, but I can easily see it happening.

Twitter allows you to pause Promote Mode, but will still charge you for the monthly fee. Because it is still in beta, you can’t sign up for the service again if you cancel. You only get one shot, apparently.

I’ll be waiting for the next iteration of Twitter’s Promote Mode, where I hope to see some useful improvements.

2 comments about "My 6-Month Test Of Twitter's Promote Mode".
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  1. Daniel Soschin from Speaker & Blogger, January 22, 2019 at 2:52 p.m.

    I will tweet this article for you. :) Thanks for sharing your promote test with us readers so we don't have to suffer through paying for our own... :)

  2. Laura Bedrossian from Hot Paper Lantern replied, January 22, 2019 at 3:54 p.m.

    Thank you, Daniel! Appreciate it and glad I could help :)

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