In a wide-ranging interview with entrepreneur and founder of, among other things, Federated Media Network, John Battelle, Bain said the social network was aiming to create a “bigger, better attribution picture” this year, admitting it had a “long way to go”.
When asked for his advice on how brands can be more successful in their paid-for ads on the platform, he revealed the bidding platform is set up to “reward marketers for being good, not just loud”.
He pointed to the example of brands like Oreos, which jumped on the Super Bowl blackout to create a tactical campaign that got tens of thousands of retweets, saying they adopted a “newsroom mentality”.
“At a high level, it comes down to two things. On Twitter you can be fast, or you can be good, and sometimes you can be fast and good,” he added. “What we stress first and foremost is the content as the ad unit itself looks and feels like organic content. You can’t really use the platform if you’re not organically good on the platform.
“We have an auction that reports the engagement rate of the bid, which means it’s not enough to be loud, you have to be good.
“The way the economics work is the percentage of people who engage with your ads is good, you can bid lower and win the auctions.”
Describing the relationship with TV as “interesting”, he pointed to a new metric being launched in the US Autumn, in conjunction with Nielsen, which will show conversations around TV shows, and also adverts. Up to 95% of social conversations about TV happen on Twitter there.
He added: “They have created an axis of engagement based on Tweets, which can be layered over the ratings so you can look at TV viewing behaviour and things that are higher reach and high engagement, and even lower reach. but high engagement, so it will be fantastic for the market.”
Bain also said the funnel model of marketing is “yesterday’s news”, with the customer journey now the key thing marketers should be focusing on.
He added: “The more modern CMOs are looking at the customer journey, which looks more like a loop, and it shows how you discover products is not just from the top of the funnel, someone else might own the product which is where they discover it.
“The truth is all these types of products are useful throughout the customer journey.”
He also signalled more integration between physical and digital, urging brands to use the platform to drive users to action, like a coffee promotion run by Starbucks in the UK last year.
When asked what he would improve on the platform, he pointed immediately to the analytics, and in particular being able to trace the role of social media in the path to purchase, which is currently very difficult.
He added: “For us, following a brand can lead to a purchase, ‘favouriting’ a tweet can lead to a purchase, and retweeting something can lead to a purchase.
“It’s a pretty thick canvas and there’s a huge opportunity in this category to go and paint a bigger, better attribution picture.”
Alex Hayes is a guest of Adobe at the Summit conference.