Five tips for retailers using Twitter this Christmas season

By Gordon Macmillan
Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Online Christmas spend in the UK is predicted to exceed £13 bn this year, according to research from Sage Pay. That’s an estimated 18% increase on last year – and even in Q1 this year, online sales jumped 17%, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.

The rise in online consumer spending means opportunities anew for retailers to connect with shoppers in real time on Twitter. Here are some tips designed to get the most out of Twitter as you launch your holiday campaigns.

1. Reach people shopping on their smartphones

If your brand does one thing on Twitter this Christmas, it should be this: plan for a mobile campaign. Mobile is in the DNA of Twitter and it should be in the code of your brand as well.

This is borne out by research conducted by Nielsen earlier this year that found 80% of UK Twitter users use Twitter on their mobiles, and as many as 70% say mobile devices are the primary way that they access Twitter. The importance of mobile in the shopping process is underscored by IMRG Capgemini’s Quarterly Benchmarking, which found that one-third of online sales are now made via mobile devices.

This data is underscored on Twitter where people shop via their smartphones. In fact, 94% of UK Twitter users are engaging with mobile commerce on their smartphone. This ranges from research and reading product reviews to visiting websites, adding products to a shopping basket and purchasing.

Five tips for retailers using Twitter this Christmas season2. Use Promoted Video to maximise engagement

Great TV advertising deserves to be shared as widely as possible – and video on Twitter is the perfect way to amplify your campaign. Earlier this year, we made that easier with the introduction of the Twitter Video Card, which offers brands a simple way to upload and distribute video on Twitter. For consumers, it means a one-tap viewing experience in their timelines.

And it works: in tests we found that Tweets using the Video Card generate better engagement and more views, and advertisers can run ads using Cost Per View. You’re only charged when a user starts playing your video.

3. Use TV targeting to continue the story

TV targeting on Twitter is a strong way to extend the story of your Christmas campaign. Advertisers running both TV commercials and Promoted Tweets have demonstrated 95% stronger message association than TV alone. Viewers talk about ads during big-buzz TV moments and shows like “The X Factor” (@TheXFactor), and marketers can target by specific shows, channels or genres. It’s an opportunity to give Twitter users unique content, and we know that it drives ROI. On average, advertisers running both TV ads and Promoted Tweets have demonstrated 8-16% more sales than TV alone.

4. Take an always-on approach

The relationship that people have with their phones and the excitement that new handsets can generate (as illustrated by stories like the launch of the iPhone 6) point to huge opportunities for marketers. This is further illustrated by the fact that the average person unlocks his or her mobile phone as many as 110 times a day (Locket App research, 2013).

The challenge for brands is to connect with people by offering great timely content in those many moments that occur each day, from breakfast and the morning commute through the work day and the journey home, as people use Twitter as they browse, engage with and share content.


5. Whitelisting celebrities to help drive awareness

Celebrities often play a role in Christmas TV campaigns, and having them Tweet as part of your campaign can have a powerful effect on driving engagement and awareness. It’s a way to drive authenticity around your campaign, as celebrities’ Tweets can feel more organic. These Tweets can achieve higher engagement rates because of the wider reach they often enjoy, so ensure that the celebrities you engage are whitelisted in advance.