How the top advertising agencies use Twitter

[Estimated reading time: 5 minutes]

For ad agencies, having a social media presence is vital. Many businesses and ad agencies already use Facebook, but an agency’s Twitter presence can be its anchor. Ad agencies are very active in social media– and Twitter allows for constant interaction.

Agencies share updates, industry news, and (most importantly) client news. They also react about events, inform followers about projects, and monitor trends. Twitter helps the top ad agencies  to communicate clearly and influence their industry.

How the top advertising agencies use Twitter

We all know the big players in advertising, and we know they are heavy hitters on social media. But naturally, we wanted to understand what the top ad agencies were doing, and how they were doing it in the “Twittersphere.”

We’ve compiled and analyzed Twitter data over the past 10 months from 33 of the top French ad agencies. Let’s see how they maximize their Twitter presence to maintain and improve their brand.  

5ème GaucheAngie
ExtremeExtreme Sensio
FCB ParisFred & Farid
Grey Paris
HavasHavas Media
Havas Worldwide Paris
IPG Mediabrands
Leo Burnett
Les GauloisMarcel
McCannProximity BBDO
Publicis Consultants
Publicis ConseilTBWA
RévolutionWax Interactive

Overall brand performance on Twitter

Generally speaking, we were surprised to see that most of the top ad agencies’ Twitter content was comprised of retweets from other brands or influencers. Retweets may represent over 40% of an agency’s feed. These retweets have no direct effect on engagement rates, but they do reflect an agency’s connection to its audience and industry.

Looking at the top 10 brands according to the number of followers shows huge agencies like Publicis, Marcel, and DDB dominating the market. They benefit from a large community based on their industry-wide prominence. These agencies with large Twitter followings need to constantly publish to be a relevant, first-look source of content and information. A large agency with limited social media interaction shows limited industry engagement and knowledge. Retweets allow these top-follower agencies to maintain constant contact with their audience with limited original content. DBB, for example, has retweets representing around 40% of their Twitter feed.

However, as seen below, a retweet can be simply an efficient way to share agency news or achievements without releasing the information firsthand. This DBB retweet is for an award winning campaign:

With self-promotion and branch-office twitter accounts to keep in mind, high retweet volume may be a reflection of myriad factors. But regardless of the rationale behind an agency’s retweet volume, the absence of retweets indicates a social media neophyte.

However, when we look at engagement rates, the leaders are vastly different. Here, small agencies dominate by having small, yet engaged communities, which explains their high engagement rates. These agencies with high engagement rates are also the source of most of their tweets. This is reflected by their overall retweet percentages (with some exceptions). Yet several big agencies like Havas, Publicis, and Les Gaulois have both high engagement rates and percentage of retweets. These retweets allow agencies to share information, but also attach their names to exciting news– think of it as a mini-company wide endorsement of the retweeted link. Retweets are important metrics to track mostly because they indicate industry engagement and expertise. Companies that only publish their own content can appear self-interested and insulated from trends. Look at this retweet from Havas Media:

As a big player in the digital space, Havas demonstrates industry engagement and provides relevant content about the future and necessity of mobile media. This content would have taken time and effort to produce, but through this retweet, Havas is able to engage their audience to consider their mobile strategy and take action on this important information.

Best hours of publication on Twitter

Across all 33 agencies, engagement rates are highest early in the morning between 6 and 8 am (before work). This engagement peak happens just before industry-wide publication frequency peaks at around 9:30am. The high volume of published content published compared to engagement rates can be accounted for by the simple fact that content readership and engagement is typically lower during work hours (whereas these agency produce content during work hours).

We saw an agency boost in engagement between 8 and 9 pm– which is usually when the least amount of tweets are published. These hours coincide with the time when most people have free time to read, view, and engage with published content. This time of most engagement is hardly surprising, but does beg the question of whether agencies should publish content or better regulate their Twitter feeds after work hours.

Best days of publication on Twitter

This graph reflects the data we found in for best hours for publication. Here, when tweet publication frequency drops, engagement rate tends to increase by a considerable margin. This correlation, however, seems to have more to do with typical work schedules than industry-wide disdain for tweet publication. The more likely cause of this increased engagement is that these engaged people are catching up on their social media intake.

Agencies get the best return on their tweet volume on Monday and Wednesday.  Monday has a lower engagement rate compared to Sunday, but the disparity between engagement rate and publication frequency seems to be the simple result of workday schedules.

What have we learned?

Similar to Facebook, using Twitter effectively comes down to more than just posting or tweeting at the right time. In general, the top Twitter-savvy agencies are constantly engaged with their followers and are aware of their brand’s perception on Twitter.

These top agencies share content– both original and retweeted, that encourages audience engagement. But perhaps the biggest takeaway is that the winners on Twitter are not necessarily the biggest agencies. Twitter is, in large part, a democratic media platform. The best agencies leverage quality audiences to engage with and share their brand message. How do they do this?

Simple. Be present, and be memorable.

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