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Hey Twitter Advertisers -- Want More Clicks? Lose the Hashtag!

Twitter is teaching advertisers how to tweet.

Ivelin Radkov/Shutterstock

Twitter has always had a tough time explaining how to use its product, and it turns out advertisers need a little guidance, too.

The social network is making a concerted effort to educate advertisers on how they should be tweeting with the hope that better ads will lead to better results and thus more advertising money coming the company’s way.

Twitter released a new report Tuesday specifically focused on direct response ads, a relatively new type of ad for Twitter that underperformed last quarter and caused the company to miss Wall Street revenue estimates. Direct response ads are intended to drive a specific result, like an app install or a website visit. But Twitter found that when these kinds of ads included a hashtag or mentioned another account, they didn’t perform very well.

For example, when you’re trying to drive visitors to your website, a tweet that doesn’t include a # or @ mention will generate 23 percent more clicks. When the tweet is focused on driving an app install, forgoing a # or @ mention increases clicks by 11 percent.

The simple explanation: All of the other clickable parts of the tweet are distracting people from doing what the advertiser wants, explained Anne Mercogliano, head of SMB marketing at Twitter.

What’s ironic is hashtags are synonymous with advertising on Twitter. It seems as though nearly every Twitter marketing campaign includes one. But Mercogliano says while hashtags may not be ideal for these specific types of ads, that doesn’t mean marketers should ignore them altogether.

“If you’re trying to join a conversation, you should absolutely use a hashtag,” she explained. “But for driving for a specific click that you’re looking for off Twitter, the less noise that you put in between [the better].”

Twitter has educated advertisers — specifically small business advertisers — in this way before, but its most recent efforts started in the fall when it released an e-book that included best practices, like “keep [tweets] short” and add a photo.

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