Twitter Tuesday launched a new daily-deal-type advertising feature.
Called Earlybird (@Earlybird), it allows advertisers to offer exclusive deals on products and events on the microblogging site. Advertisers will determine the deals' availability and pricing – so unlike, say, Groupon, you can limit a deal offer to the first 100 people.
Within 24 hours of going live, the service hasn't listed a deal (as of early Wednesday morning), but already has more than 10,000 followers.
Twitter -- which recently launched Promoted Tweets and Promoted Trends in an effort to cash in on its global reach -- will "earn revenue through our relationships with advertisers," it told users of EarlyBird on its Support page. "Our focus will be to try and make these deals interesting and of value to you," the company said. "We take pride in being selective about the type of deals we highlight and hope they will be an exciting way to start your day."
Wondering about the value of promoting products directly through Twitter? At least for Coca-Cola, it's providing big returns on a small investment. Carol Kruse, Coca Cola's vice-president for global interactive marketing, last week described the company's Twitter results as "phenomenal" to the Financial Times. She said the company received 86 million impressions (views of the sponsored trending topic) in 24 hours with an "engagement rate" of 6 percent, compared with the average .02 percent of users clicking on a standard online ad. In December 2009, Dell announced it had used Twitter to generate $6.5 million in sales. This was Twitter in the period before it sold advertising, so note that sales were thanks to the company's own social media strategy.
You'll need a good social media strategy to get the best results from any Twitter advertising, including EarlyBird, experts suggest.
Wrote one commentator: "Brands now looking to take advantage of Twitter to post deals and offers must be aware that the success of companies such as Dell and Sony has been spurred by the brands' use of the channel to engage with consumers as well as simply posting deals. In both cases, a dedicated profile was set up specifically for deals, while other profiles are used to answer customer problems and give information and updates." (For help with your own strategy, click here.)
In its Q&A posting for users, Twitter also suggested it may attempt to move in on Groupon, Living Social, and the other bargain sites. Asked if users will be able to see city-specific deals, the company wrote: "We're starting with U.S.-wide offers but will explore location-based deals in the future."
Have you used Twitter to promote your products? Got any tips for best results?