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Promoted tweets drive sales, Twitter said today. And not just for web retailers — they’re talking ice cream and razors and toothpaste.

In addition, the company announced a new program for brands to track the offline sales impact of their Twitter ads.

There were three key findings in a Twitter-sponsored study by Datalogix on promoted tweets, all of which will support Twitter’s efforts to get mainstream corporate America onboard with Twitter advertising.

First, Twitter users who engage with promoted tweets buy more. That’s unsurprising — if you retweet, favorite, or reply to a tweet, you’re likely paying attention, understanding what’s been promoted, and reacting to it emotionally enough to respond. That engagement, Datalogix’ study says, drove an average 12 percent sales lift across 35 brands with dozens of products in the study.

Perhaps even more significantly, however, even those who simply saw a tweet — without responding to it — bought 2 percent more often.


Second, users who are “exposed” to a brands’ own unpaid tweets buy 8 percent more than those who are not. This is probably one of those not-very-surprising results, since Twitter followers are inherently self-selecting. But the interesting part is that this buy-more effect increased almost 300 percent when users saw five or more organic tweets.

“The implication of this finding is that brands who actively build their follower base and regularly tweet to their followers can see an increase in offline sales,” Twitter’s Ameet Ranadive wrote.

Third, and most impressive, a brand’s Twitter followers who see the brand’s promoted tweets buy almost a third more than other followers who simply see organic tweets.


That’s huge for Twitter.

Essentially, this is data-driven validation of Twitter’s advertising ROI argument to brands. First, brands need to be on Twitter to get organic lift, Twitter’s data is saying. And second, they need to buy promoted tweets to maximize the effect and see optimal offline sales growth.

The most interesting part?

Twitter’s not just putting the study out there and claiming the impacts. Instead, the social network is clearly comfortable enough in the veracity and duplicability of the results that it is offering brands Twitter tools to measure offline sales impact themselves. Currently, that’s limited to consumer packaged goods advertisers in the U.S., and available only on a 1-on-1, case-by-case basis.

However, that’s still a massive validation of the effectiveness of Twitter’s growing range of ad tools.

Twitter is clearly preparing for an IPO soon, and it’s bolstering its money-making advertising options with retargeting options, geotargeting opportunities, keyword targeting tools, and much more. All of that means little, however, without the capability to prove that Twitter advertisers actually make money when they spend money.

That’s something that consumer goods companies like those that make Oreos and Trident gum desperately want:

“Twitter’s study is highly valuable to us because it brings social activity even closer to measurable sales impact,” Bonin Bough, the VP of Mondelez International, which own Oreos, said in a statement. “Many of our brands like Trident, Oreo, and Wheat Thins are very active in the Twittersphere, and with Twitter’s new offline sales impact capability, we will be able to measure the connections between our organic and paid Twitter activity and in-store sales. This is a significant step in evaluating the power of real-time marketing.”

Now Twitter’s adding that last little piece.

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