Why brands are turning to Twitter to launch new things

The likes of Heinz, Sonos and Samsung have launched products and campaigns on the platform.

Twitter wants to be the go-to place for marketers to launch new products and campaigns – and it has a good amount of statistics to showcase why it’s a worthwhile option.

Based on Twitter’s own research, 54 percent of launch campaigns showed an average lift in brand awareness of 10 percent or more. Nearly six in 10 (59 percent) of launch campaigns led to an average lift of 15 percent-plus in message association; and 24 percent of these initiatives saw an average jump in brand favorability of 8 percent or more.

Bruce Falck, head of revenue product at Twitter, said brands are looking toward the social platform because launching something new can be so broad – from a product or campaign to a movie premiere or brand. Advertisers also want to "connect with what’s happening and be part of what people are talking about," said Falck. "We have the most valuable audience where they’re most receptive."

For example, two-thirds of Twitter users influence purchase decisions among friends and family, according to its internal research. Additionally, 79 percent of people on Twitter follow brands, and 31 percent are more likely to be the first to buy new products than non-users.

Heinz decided to tease out and announce the launch of its anticipated Mayochup product in the U.S. on Twitter last spring.

Nicole Kulwicki, director of marketing for Heinz, said the brand’s social team saw a "fierce debate" about Mayochup – the combination of mayonnaise and ketchup – in the U.K. market and jumped on the conversation. People were discussing whether or not the product – not yet available in the states – should launch in the U.S.

Kulwicki said the brand, with help from agency partner VML, put the power in consumers’ hands on Twitter with a poll. Heinz tweeted that if it gets 500,000-plus votes in three days to bring the mayonnaise-ketchup product to the U.S., it would act on it.

Heinz received almost one million "yes" votes, so the product will come to U.S. stores later this year. The brand continued the buzz by asking fans to help choose the name on Twitter too – the traditional Mayochup name rose to the top.

Heinz plans on doing a post-campaign analysis to understand its social impact from the effort, said Kulwicki.

Falck told Campaign that Twitter has the ability to track in-store and mobile application sales linked to its campaign. However, he admitted that Twitter is still learning and exploring the launch space, and that some major launches can be very complicated with a number of companies, agencies and assets running across various touchpoints.

Despite its enthusiasm and early success - with Sonos and Samsung also recently launching things on the platform - Twitter doesn’t have all the answers in this area, yet.

According to Benjamin Arnold, managing director of We Are Social North America, Twitter can "provide incredible levels of engagement" for certain brands that are targeting "very specific audiences via creative designed with even more specific objectives at specific times."

"But clearly that's a whole lot of dependences and variables that it would be misleading to overstate or generalize at this time," he said.

Arnold added: "The challenge is if and how Twitter can go from niche back to mainstream - which seems strange to say 12 years after the platform launched. However, signs are positive."

Twitter is in a comeback mode despite its major drop in stock price in July, he said, pointing to the fact that cleaning out fake accounts reduced monthly active users, but increased marketing integrity and trust among marketers, agencies and consumers.

"There's still a long way to go before Twitter can claim universally that it drives higher engagement than other platforms but it's heading, slowly, in the right direction," said Arnold.

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