Twitter vs. Facebook | Hello Starling

Twitter vs. Facebook

Twitter vs. Facebook

Social media advertising is at an all-time high but, out of the two biggest social sites (not including Qzone, China’s social media giant), which one provides the best ad-platform?

Posted - 1 December, 2017

 
We’ll start off by being honest. We love us some Facebook.
 
Their metrics are undeniable (we’ll get to that in a bit), but they also offer the better user experience and incredibly detailed targeting.
 
So, yes, we’re a little biased, but Twitter is making strides to catch up with the juggernaut that is Facebook and we’re about to be as objective as possible in showing you how they match up:
 
 
 

Campaign set up.

 

Facebook:

You’re provided with loads of options whatever the objective for your campaign. Your choice here will affect how your adverts are served and what you’ll actually pay for. If you choose ‘Video Views’, for example, you’ll only pay when your audience watches your video or if you choose ‘Traffic’, you’ll only pay for every click through to your website.

So having more options means you can make sure you’re only paying for results, whatever your campaign aims to do.
 

 
Facebook offers a lot of choice for campaign objectives.
 
 

Twitter:

Twitter is a step behind here, but still offer a range of objectives to ensure your adverts are focussed on your desired outcome. As you can see below their ‘Website Clicks or Conversions’ (a fairly important marketing objective) objective is still in Beta, which means it’s still being tested and developed. Encouragingly, this is something Twitter is doing all the time.
 
 

 
Twitter is adding and updating their system all the time.
 
 
 

Targeting.

 

Facebook:

Their targeting is complex. On the upside, it gives you almost unlimited options, allowing you to craft a very specific audience to target. On the downside, it gives you almost unlimited options, so for new initiates it can be quite daunting and can lead to over-targeting by indulging in every facet of Facebook’s targeting interface – or under-targeting when the options get too overwhelming. It does take a little while to learn, but when you get used to it though it’s invaluable, particularly when combined with independent audience research.
 
 

Facebook’s targeting options are extensive and varied.
 
 

Twitter:

Twitter gives you far fewer options as far as targeting goes, but it’s solid enough. However, one of our biggest bugbears* is the inability to target by British cities. You can have Cardiff in New South Wales, Australia or Bristol in Daytona Beach, Florida, but if you want to just target Cardiff or Bristol here in the UK you need to go through and input every postcode area by hand to get full coverage. Compare this to Facebook’s easy geographical targeting (including the ability to drop pins and designate a specific radius on a global map) there really is no contest.
 
Twitter does offer some effective targeting options though, similar to Facebook, you can target by interests, languages (though Twitter doesn’t support Welsh yet) and, unique to Twitter, you can also target by individual ‘followers’ using their Twitter handle and by hash-tags. Targeting by followers and the ability to use hash-tags in the creative are two unique options Twitter offers over Facebook.
 

Twitter targeting, ideal if your audience is chilling in Daytona Beach.
 
 
 

Creative Formats.

 

Facebook:

They have some excellent formats to use. You’ve probably seen most of them while browsing your feed. Though the majority of those adverts will have been a single image; they account for between 75-90% of all promoted content on Facebook.
 

 
The various standard formats for Facebook advertisers (not including Canvas).
 
However, more and more marketers a shifting towards using video; it’s estimated that 44% of SMB marketers are investing in video content in 2017.
 
It’s becoming more and more popular, particularly on mobile whose users are five times more likely to view video content than their desktop-browsing counterparts.
 
They do offer a variety of other formats too. Most recently, Facebook has added two further formats to play with, ‘Collection’ and ‘Canvas’ adverts.
 
‘Collection’ is a great tool for brands, particularly retailers looking to promote individual products. You’re able to create a suite of graphics headed by one landscape ‘hero image’.
 
 

 
The new ‘collection’ format.
 
‘Canvas’ is an exciting opportunity for advertisers and it allows the creation of a full-screen advert. The initial click-through on any of the below formats takes you through to a full interactive ad experience, with more info and the chance to further promote your products or brand – it’s basically a micro-site or landing page hosted on Facebook. A handy tool if you don’t have the budget or inclination to create your own bespoke landing page for your campaign.
 
Facebook’s Canvas gives you the opportunity to create a more in-depth ad experience for audiences.
 
 

Twitter:

The little blue bird has quite a few formats for advertisers to make use of, in fact, this is the area in which they may even have the edge on Facebook (see, we told you we’d be objective).
 
They have nine formats in total and some of them offer some exciting creative opportunities. As we’ve mentioned before, Twitter is a little behind Facebook and so are still live testing and developing parts of its platform, so the way these creative formats work may change in the coming months and years.
 
Twitter has an advantage over Facebook in its ability to leverage unique parts of its interface. They make full use of this with their specialised ‘Conversational’ Ads created with built-in, bespoke hash-tags. These provide the opportunity for brands to start conversations with their audience, encouraging user-generated content – a favourite of social media marketers because it means lots of free, organic advertising.
 
 

 
Twitter’s ‘conversational’ ads offer the opportunity to make your brand a talking point.
 
This is something that Twitter does really well, offering a platform for big conversation. Conversations happen on Facebook too, but the comment section on Facebook posts tends to be almost as worrying as those on YouTube. Twitter, by comparison, encourages audiences to engage with the zeitgeist of the day (or hour) and this is an excellent chance for brands to become part of the conversation if done right. And Conversational Ads are a great way to achieve this.
 
 
 

The Metrics.

 

Cost

Facebook is cheaper.
 
Both platforms work on a cost-per-action basis. Your campaign objective dictates where your money is spent. If you want people to click-through to your website – you’ll pay per click, if you want them to watch your brand awareness video – you’ll pay for every view.
 
It’s a good system, meaning you’ll only pay when your desired result is achieved. If the campaign is set up with careful targeting (easier to do with Facebook as we’ve mentioned above) you can almost guarantee that all money spent will be worthwhile.
 
You’ll pay an average of five times more on Twitter click than you would for Facebook. And because of its comparatively poor targeting, you can’t guarantee that the money you’re spending on your clicks via Twitter isn’t being wasted.
 
Facebook 1 – Twitter 0
 
 
 

Audience

 
Twitter has an impressive 319 million active users a month, but Facebook overshadows that by quite a margin with 1.49 billion.
 
Obviously, you’re not going to want to target everyone with every campaign, but it’s nice to have the option.
 
 
 
Facebook 2 – Twitter 0
 
 
 

Click-Through-Rates (CTR)

 
This is the key metric for measuring the effectiveness of an ad campaign online (depending on the objective) and is usually used as the definitive example of success. It’s worked out by dividing the number of clicks (or actions, again, depending on your campaign objective) by the number of impressions (times people have seen your ad).
 
Facebook has an average CTR of 0.9%, but Twitter dominates with an average CTR of 1.64%. These numbers fluctuate depending on the study, as you’d imagine, but Twitter is usually the winner in this category.
 
There may be a couple of reasons for its higher click-through-rates. Firstly, there are generally fewer adverts on Twitter so audiences may not suffer from quite as much ad-fatigue as Facebook users and are therefore more likely to engage with certain adverts.
 
Secondly, as we’ve mentioned before, Twitter places an emphasis on making adverts part of the conversation. Therefore encouraging a more seamless integration of adverts on their site. This is something advertisers strive for, non-invasive advertising that adds something to an audience’s experience, providing value rather than annoying them**. It’s good for audiences and it’s good for brands.
 
 
 

Final score:

 
Facebook 2 – Twitter 1
 
 
 

We’ll end as we started, with some honesty; we still love Facebook the most.

 
Its user interface and sheer wealth of targeting makes it an incredibly effective tool for many different campaign objectives. And statistically, it brings the weight of an enormous global user base and a more attractive pricing formula.
 
However, Twitter is catching up with added improvements every few months and the ability to intergrade adverts into its current user experience, encouraging conversation, not interrupting it, with the use of hash-tags and user targeting is an invaluable tool for certain campaigns.
 
For now though we’ll continue to use Facebook for the majority of campaigns (though Twitter does have its place), but we’ll be keeping an eye on Twitter as they continue to develop.
 
 

* Quick etymology break for you: Bugbear means ‘creepy bear’ – once a medieval colloquialism related to the word ‘bogeyman’ and the old Welsh ‘Bwg’, meaning goblin. We’re still not quite sure why it’s now used to describe something irritating. We suppose goblins were annoying.

** Like a goblin!

 
 
 


Subscribe to our newsletter.


Loading...
Hello Starling, 4 Raleigh Walk, Brigantine Place, Cardiff, CF10 4LN
Tel: +44 (0) 292 044 0022 | E-mail: hello@hellostarling.com
© 2014 Hello Starling Limited. All rights reserved. Registered in Wales & England 07543315.