Trend Alert: Promoted Retweets

There is a saying that if you go around tooting your own horn all the time, eventually people won’t even hear it anymore. However, when someone says something good about you, that often carries more weight than anything you say about yourself. This concept applies to brands when promoting their message to followers and fans on social networks. We’ve seen a recent trend of brands, using Twitter’s Promoted Tweets product, doing something called a “Promoted Retweet.” We’d like to discuss what this is, show some examples, and explore whether or not it is right for your brand.

What is a Promoted Retweet?

We assume you know what a Promoted Tweet is, but just in case you don’t, a Promoted Tweet is one of Twitter’s advertising products that allows you to expand your Tweets’ reach with advanced targeting and tools. It is a very effective tool to help you get your message out to a wider audience.

So what is a Promoted Retweet then? A Promoted Retweet is when, instead of promoting its own tweet, a brand promotes another handle’s tweet (usually about them). This can be a happy customer, a celebrity, a brand partnership, an ambassador or someone else. And it can be a great way to let other people see what customers or users are saying and thinking about your service or product. We’ve seen a few of these in recent weeks and thought it was interesting to dig in and understand it better.

How do Promoted Retweets works?

The public details are scarce about Promoted Retweets. In the Twitter Ads Policy page it explicitly says – “Do not include another person’s content in Twitter Ads without the person’s permission. Create your own Tweets, or get permission from the authors of the Tweets and Retweets you use.” We’ve also heard that unless you are a managed account, it is very hard to execute a Promoted Retweet. If you go to your Promoted Tweets in Twitter’s Ads product and hover over a RT, you’ll get a non-selectable grey overlay. That being said, there are a few steps if you want to do a Promoted Retweet campaign (and have Twitter’s permission).

Step 1: In order to begin a Promoted Retweet campaign, the brand must get permission (via email) from the handle that tweeted the content that it wants to promote and retweet. This involves the brand saying that they (enter their @handle) approves Brand X (brand X’s @handle) of using this tweet from date x to date y.

Step 2: Once you get this in writing, you should forward this email to your account manager at Twitter so they can whitelist this tweet/account.

Step 3: Once it is confirmed and the account/tweet is whitelisted, when you log back into the ads product this time the RT will be available to promote as well.

What are some Promoted Retweet Examples?

@RelateIQ + @DanielleMorrill

Danielle + Relate IQ

Promoted Retweet examples were few and far between, but when Alex, our co-founder, saw a Promoted Retweet from @RelateIQ, we decided to write this post. RelateIQ took a tweet from @DanielleMorrill that said “I spend more time in RelateIQ than Facebook” and promoted it. The responses were great, establishing authentic brand engagement and arguably performed better than any tweet RelateIQ could promote that they wrote themselves.

@Katyperry + @ParamountPics

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 4.47.17 PM

Example number two comes from a collaboration between @KatyPerry and @ParamountPics. This is a different example of a Promoted Retweet, using a celebrity/influencer to amplify the message. Katy had a movie coming out with Paramount Pictures and Paramount was leveraging her celebrity status so that people would notice and click when it was promoted into their stream.

@NBA + @CiscoSystems

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 4.47.25 PM (1)

The third example of a Promoted Retweet is when the @NBA and @CiscoSystems teamed up around the NBA Finals. While Cisco is a very large company, it doesn’t have the instant brand recognition that the NBA does. Cisco used Promoted Retweets to amplify their partnership with the NBA.

@MLB + @Pepsi


The fourth example, we actually just saw today. This is a promoted tweet by @Pepsi with content from @MLB around the All-Star Game. Pepsi is one of the sponsors for the All-Star Game, and the Promoted Retweet allows Pepsi to stay in the picture, but have the focus remain on baseball/the event at hand. It is a more discreet method of brand marketing.

Are Promoted Retweets right for your brand?

That’s a great question. The answer is, it depends on your brand and your goals for promoting a tweet. If you are a brand that has customers, clients or users and you are looking to do general advertising then Promoted Retweets can let your happy customers, clients and users do the talking for you. If you are doing very specific advertising, trying to convert people to click on something specific, a Promoted Retweet might not be the best way to accomplish this. We think Promoted Retweets are an interesting and exciting new type of way to promote your brand and look forward to seeing more of these in our feed.

We don’t have access to Promoted Retweets on Twitter, but if we did here is what we would do:


What do you think of Promoted Retweets?

Alex Taub

Co-founder of SocialRank

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