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Macy’s sees nearly 8pc engagement rate from Twitter’s new display ads

Last month, Macy’s rolled out a shoppable ad on the Twitter Audience Platform, extending its social media marketing to third-party applications and driving a 7.85 engagement rate.

Macy’s is one of several major brand beta partners teaming up with Twitter’s Audience Platform, a solution designed to drive Tweet engagements, video views and commerce within thousands of partner applications. After advertisers decide to extend their Twitter campaigns, the social network transforms Promoted Tweet units into mobile app-optimized formats that may include features such as a free gift with purchase or a “buy now” button, as seen with Macy’s.

“The challenge that Twitter has always had is audience engagement,” said Gary Schwartz, CEO of Impact Mobile, New York. “Users can Tweet into Twitter and consume content without having to be in the Twitter application.

“While this allows Twitter to be tremendously flexible for publishers, it limits the CPM and CPC opportunities for the company.”

Driving mobile purchases
In a post on its official blog, Twitter said Macy’s was one of the premier retailers to first leverage this service. This past July, the brand rolled out a campaign on the Twitter Audience Platform in a bid to extend the reach of its mobile ads to other various apps.

Macy’s sought to drive purchases for Elizabeth Arden makeup by showing users an image of a complimentary seven-piece gift they could receive after purchasing any of the brand’s items.

Consumers could then click the “shop now” button to get redirected to the appropriate landing page, at which they could check out and add the gift to their shopping carts.

After launching the campaign, Macy’s saw an engagement rate of 7.85 percent, which is well above industry standards for mobile display advertisements. This resulted in promotional efficiency and strong incremental reach for the retailer, who was able to more seamlessly connect with consumers throughout the day.

“The Twitter Audience Platform provides an expanded gateway for brands which are active on Twitter to drive social engagement through non-Twitter sites,” said Shuli Lowy, marketing director at Ping Mobile, New York. “Social giants may have several reasons for bringing on publishers outside of their sites.

“One reason is that it can lead to better cross-channel tracking,” she said. “If each publisher is reporting what the user is doing throughout different touch points, marketers can paint a better picture of how an ad guides a customers through the purchase path.

“That’s especially important when a consumer reacts to a mobile impression on a desktop—as desktops can provide added cookie visibility.”

The Twitter Audience Platform may be an optimal service to tap for marketers that are aiming to build buzz and drive awareness around specific promotions or products. The social network claims the service is an ideal tool for fueling video views, Tweet engagements and mobile app installs.

It is planning to eventually expand the program to include other top campaign goals, such as Web site conversions and clicks.

Finding new customers
Twitter’s new platform could potentially yield a slew of new customers for brands that leverage its services. Another beta partner, electronics company JBL, also tapped the platform to reach additional consumers in other apps.

Meanwhile, Samsung Mobile UK was the first British advertiser to extend its Promoted Video and target its key audience in apps. The brand saw a 365 percent uptick in video views, proving that users in other apps will pay attention to an ad if it is relevant to their needs or interests.

However, perhaps the most effective way to ensure wider audience outreach and more purchases is to offer a strong call-to-action, as per Macy’s example. Displaying the impressive seven-piece gift that a consumer could receive is certainly enough incentive to click the “shop now” button and explore Elizabeth Arden’s other available items.

Macy’s has long understood the power of mobile in driving commerce, and continues to experiment bridging the digital and in-store shopping experiences.

Macy’s is currently testing mobile technology developed by Hointer at a store in Manhattan Beach, CA, enabling shoppers to select different sizes and colors of products found in the store to have them delivered to a fitting room (see story).

“The fact that Macy’s and JBL achieved stronger incremental reach is a natural expectation of this rollout,” Ms. Lowy said. “The fact that it was cheaper is also not surprising.

“Ad traffic on an established social media platform such as Facebook or Twitter sells at a premium,” she said. “Marketers are willing to pay that premium because of the first party audience data that the platform has, the quality of its content, as well as the faster gateway it provides to social engagement.

“Expanding to publishers who are outside of Twitter and therefore priced lower in the market, will bring down ad costs.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York