5 Ways to Respond to Twitter Killing Off Lead Generation Ads

Social Media Marketing


Many marketers, including our team at Marketo, use Twitter as an effective platform for reaching potential and existing customers. However, there was no shortage of negative press for the micro-blogging social network this year.

Recently, Twitter announced that marketers will no longer be able to create lead generation campaigns with Twitter’s Lead Generation Card feature. In a statement to Marketing Dive, Twitter provided some commentary on their decision: “We are always experimenting with the best ways to help advertisers effectively connect with consumers. At this time, we intend to focus our efforts on building and improving other performance offerings that will help us drive the best performance for advertisers.”

What’s a digital marketer to do without Twitter ads? Here are five ways you can react to the news about Twitter killing off lead generation ads:

1. Panic!

Okay, so you could panic, but there’s more than a month left to use the feature, which will be removed on February 1, 2017. Until then, you can still create and edit lead generation campaigns and lead generation cards. You can also view your cards (but not edit them) through March 1st, and once they’re truly gone, you still have other viable options, which I’ll cover in more detail below. Plus, campaign analytics don’t have a sundown date, so you can still look back at your metrics to optimize your campaigns on other channels.

2. Shrug

If you weren’t using lead generation ads, this change won’t matter much to you (I’m in this category myself). These cards were designed to capture just three bits of data about a user (name, Twitter handle, and email address) without prompting the user to leave Twitter. This information is auto-filled, so it’s incredibly fast and easy for users to submit it. However, great user experiences don’t always make for the most qualified, full-of-intent contacts.

3. Switch to Website Cards

Unlike Lead Generation Cards which capture user data within Twitter, Website Cards direct users to a landing page on your website. While it’s up to you to capture your own data (e.g. through a gated landing page), you have the opportunity to capture more data about the user. You can also include the URL directly within the picture to meet the character limit and append tracking parameters to track conversions.

Here’s an example of a Website Card we ran on Twitter to promote our new Definitive Guide to Social Media Marketing.

example of Twitter Website CardIf you’re using a comprehensive marketing automation platform, like Marketo, you can create a custom landing page, add a form for the user to fill out, link it to your database, and then schedule any needed follow-up (e.g. alert sales, add the new user to a nurture email stream, and so on). You can also capture information that wasn’t available from Lead Generation Cards, so you can ask for the details that really matter to your organization (e.g. company name, job title, annual income, timeline to purchase, or other key demographic data). Furthermore, you can set up these campaigns to optimize for website conversions, not just clicks, and Twitter will focus your spend on users who convert on your landing page, not just those who click on your Website Card.

4. Pivot to Retargeting Campaigns

More than 317 million people use Twitter at least monthly and daily active users grew 7% over 2015, according to data from Twitter, so there’s a strong likelihood your customers and prospects are among them. In addition to trying to acquire new contacts and customers from the social network, try promoting offers specifically designed for those who have visited your website before, but haven’t yet shown they’re sales-ready or haven’t purchased in awhile.

You can build customer profiles based on demographic and behavioral data in your marketing automation platform, and then upload these lists (Twitter calls them Tailored Audiences) to target your Twitter campaigns exclusively at them. You can still geo-target as needed, but this way, you can skip the interest/keyword/follower targeting and integrate your paid ads campaign as a cohesive part of your overall cross-channel strategy.

5. Try Facebook Lead Ads

If you’re not already running Facebook Lead Ads, they’re very similar to the feature that Twitter will be shutting down. When someone clicks on a Facebook Lead Ad, they will see a form and can fill it out without being redirected to a new webpage. However, Facebook allows you to ask more questions on the form, as well as customize one of your own (and a list of drop-down options, if you like). You can also set them up to track Offline Conversions from your Marketo database, so you can see not only which ads acquire the most leads, but which ones drive the most sales/conversions.

Despite some bad press, Twitter is still a vibrant social network that’s especially well-suited to breaking news. And we’re starting to see more positive announcements, including live video and a new life for Vine. There are also other great options for savvy marketers to explore on Twitter, including ways to stay top-of-mind for your audience,  research keywords and interests that are important to your organization, and reach influencers in your space. The key is to test different kinds of content and ads, measure your results, and optimize your resources based on what’s most effective.

I’d love to hear about your experience with Lead Generation Cards in the comments below. Did you generate lots of conversions with them? How are you reacting to the news?