What brands want to see from Twitter
The five marketers interviewed for this story said they have been in conversations with Twitter about the platform reversing its cannabis marketing ban for a few weeks leading up to its announcement. So they’ve been able to express what they want to see reflected in its policies. They all agreed that the interactions have been good and Twitter has at least been receptive to their feedback.
“The fact that Twitter reached out to us proactively shows their dedication to the category,” Rothschild said.
Performance and measurement are two areas these brands said they want to see Twitter focused on before they commit to any big investments.
Fields said Cann will likely commit around $25,000 to Twitter in the initial testing phase and will focus on key growth markets including California, New York, Texas and Florida. She said Cann is very focused on measuring the revenue the business earns for each dollar it spends on advertising; it has a goal of gaining a return of six times its original investment.
“But anything above [2x] is something we’re willing to look at,” Fields said. “That said, that’s only the first touch point. [Return on ad spend] is important but we’ll want to continue to look at those customers we’re acquiring through Twitter and compare them to some of our other acquisition channels.”
Cresco Labs will similarly be focused on key performance metrics.
“We have a very data-forward and measurement-forward strategy when it comes to our advertising approach,” Rothschild said. “Part of that is to ensure for every $1 we put in, we produce more than $1 for our business.”
Fields is optimistic that Twitter will eventually be able to deliver.
“Twitter has a really good track record of adapting,” Fields said. “They’ve experimented with a lot of different ad units and tactics.”
Rothschild said he is particularly excited to use Twitter’s LiveRamp platform, through which brands and agencies can send their first-party data. He said Cresco Labs’ retail chain of dispensaries, Sunnyside, gives it access to a wealth of first-party data that many other traditional CPG companies don’t have.
Still, many other advertisers have fled Twitter after free-speech absolutist Musk took over, creating ongoing chaos that’s included a slew of brand safety concerns and executive departures such as Sarah Personette and JP Maheu, who were close to brands.
A December Forrester report downgraded Twitter and advised advertisers to allocate the majority of their social media budgets elsewhere, noting that not only do brands that remain on the platform risk reputational damage but they aren’t getting as much out of it because its performance-based ad products, in particular, haven’t evolved at the same pace as competitors including Meta's.
“Marketers believe that Twitter is less efficient,” the report stated. “Advertising executives we spoke with noted that Twitter’s direct-response ad products do not deliver the performance required to meet lower-funnel media goals. Instead, they turn to Meta for full-funnel coverage and use Twitter only for mid- to upper-funnel media goals, such as ‘awareness’ or ‘consideration.’”
WPP CEO Mark Read on Thursday said that clients are beginning to think about returning to Twitter.
For cannabis brands, Meta isn’t an option and it’s better to have some social media presence than none.
Larson noted that the more places companies can get their messages out and normalize cannabis, the better. “Education is one of the things this industry still needs the most,” she said.