Twitter Pitches Brands with $100K Minimum Spend for TV Ad Targeting

Brand Research Insights Available for $250K Spend

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Twitter last month revealed a TV ad targeting product, the first fruit of its February acquisition of Bluefin Labs, and the company has set a $100,000 minimum for marketers interested in taking it for a spin.

According to two people who've seen Twitter's sales deck, national TV advertisers who want to be part of the beta must allocate a minimum of $100,000 per Twitter handle to promoted tweets tied to a TV ad campaign. And at least $50,000 of that must be specifically for promoted tweets placed using the new TV ad targeting product.

Dashboard of Twitter's TV ad targeting product
Dashboard of Twitter's TV ad targeting product

Relying on Bluefin's video fingerprinting technology that tracks when TV commercials air and what ads ran against them, the new Twitter ad targeting product that debuted last month is intended to complement a substantial national TV buy. It lets marketers show promoted tweets to people who've been tweeting about a show in which their TV ad has also appeared to reinforce that messaging.

Twitter also requires that advertisers in the beta have spent $25,000 with the company in 2013. And those that spend at least $250,000 will be eligible to have a brand survey run for them on Twitter. (The example given in the deck shows the survey question "Have you ever heard of the New York Fashion Week?" posed in the Twitter app on an iPhone screen.)

Twitter declined to comment on the pricing or adoption of the product. But clearly a six-figure price tag won't ruffle the feathers of the national TV advertisers being courted by Twitter to experiment. It's a relatively low barrier to entry for big brands, according to George Manas, director of client strategy and development for Resolution Media (a unit of Omnicom Media Group), but it can still buy enough scale to make the test interesting.

"In order to make this worth the test, you have to make sure that you have enough TV in market, and you have to make sure you're allocating enough in promoted tweets to get a read on whether this was effective as a targeting tactic," he said.

Mr. Manas's agency has been testing it with clients and has observed higher engagement rates for promoted tweets placed through TV ad targeting than for other types of promoted tweets. (He's also had clients opt into the larger package with research insights bundled in, which is powered by Nielsen.) The tests have lasted anywhere from two to six weeks, during which promoted tweets were seen by anywhere from hundreds of thousands to the low millions of people who had watched and tweeted about a show where the campaign's TV spot originally ran.

"Reach is going to be dependent on how social the shows are," Mr. Manas observed.

Twitter's deck also recommends that advertisers match up their TV ad targeting spend to the gross ratings points they've bought for their TV campaign. A $50,000 spend is recommended for 100 GRPs; $100,000 for 200 GRPs; and $500,000 for 500 GRPs.

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