From Disney+’s intense rollout to companies such as Wendy’s and Popsicle bringing back discontinued products, brands are increasingly turning to Twitter to launch campaigns, according to the global leader of Twitter’s brand strategy team.
"Over the course of 2019, the dominant primary reason brands are using Twitter is when they are launching something new," said Alex Josephson, global head of Twitter Next.
There has been a 27% year-on-year increase in product and brand launches, according to research from Bain & Company, meaning the marketplace is more crowded and the window of time for a successful launch is shrinking. The research, which surveyed 650 US marketers found they feel it is harder than ever to stage a successful launch.
However, Josephson made the case that Twitter can lend a boost to debuts.
"Only 15% of the marketers who launched something in general over the last year were meeting their KPIs for the launch campaign," said Josephson. "But the ones meeting their KPIs were 2.3x more likely to have included Twitter in their launch plan, versus the 85% that weren’t meeting their KPIs."
Twitter’s internal team reviewed how brands used the platform for launch announcements this year. It found that successful companies simply started by listening to what their audience was saying on social media before the launch.
"They didn’t just show up on launch day and make an announcement," said Josephson. "Oftentimes they were teasing that launch then going big on launch day and then sustaining and reinforcing the launch in the days and weeks following."
Josephson and his team highlighted 12 brands that focused on influence over reach for their Twitter launch. "They went for niche, not mass; for the enthusiast, not the generalist," he said. "If you send out a message that will appeal to everyone, no one will care."
Without further ado, here are Twitter’s picks for the top 12 brand launches on the platform in 2019.
Best brand launch: Disney+
The new kid on the streaming block, Disney+ introduced itself by creating a tweet thread comprised of 600 tweets, each representing a show from a content property under the Disney+ umbrella.
"This was a clever way of demonstrating to the audience how much content they have," said Josephson. "It raised mass awareness. Every tweet was for a different show so they could appeal to every single niche audience that would be interested in the content they have."
It. Is. Time. From Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to The Mandalorian, check out basically everything coming to #DisneyPlus in the U.S. on November 12.— Disney+ (@disneyplus) October 14, 2019
Pre-order in the U.S. at https://t.co/wJig4STf4P today: https://t.co/tlWvp23gLF pic.twitter.com/0q3PTuaDWT
Best product launch: Popsicle’s Double Pop
Justin Bieber tweeted that he and manager Scooter Braun could not find "double stick popsicles," saying, "This is crazy. @Popsicle we need those back!"
Popsicle responded on Twitter that if the brand got 100,000 retweets by July 23, it would bring back the Double Pop. Consumers met the goal.
"Popsicle isn’t a brand you think of having a massive following or wave of conversation surrounding it," said Josephson. "But they had a 1,000% increase in mentions of the Double Pop between June and July and 99.9% positive sentiment around the conversation. They also got 140 earned media placements."
A limited batch has landed – but for 100K retweets we’ll bring back the Double Pop fun for everyone. Who’s in? RT this tweet & we’ll alert you on 7/23 with the results. #BringBackTheDouble pic.twitter.com/lAPrsuUWcO— Popsicle® (@Popsicle) July 16, 2019
Best use of live-streaming: 2K Games
2K Games launched NBA 2K20 with a live broadcast show on Twitter, and 825,000 unique live viewers tuned in. The broadcast was the No. 1 trend on Twitter in the US and number two globally, out-trending The Bachelorette premiere.
Best pre-launch tease: Epic Games’ Fortnite
Fortnite intentionally crashed its own game on October 13, replacing it with a black hole. The brand then posted the live-stream of the black hole on its Twitter page and hid all of its previous tweets. More than 12.8 million people tuned in to watch the live-stream promoting Fortnite Chapter 2.
Best digital to physical activation: DiGiorno with #DeliverDiGiorno
"It’s not delivery; it’s DiGiorno" is DiGiorno’s well-known tagline, but things changed when the brand made its pizza available for delivery, and some people were angry with DiGiorno for reversing its brand identity.
To raise awareness, the brand launched a campaign on Twitter encouraging people to tweet the hashtag #DeliverDiGiorno to get a pizza delivered to their home.
"They delivered over 1,100 pizzas in five different markets, and the campaign got over 1,000 press and TV hits in local markets," said Josephson. "Even though they experienced backlash at the beginning, sentiment around the conversation ended up at 78% positive."
Best way to fuel fans: HBO’s Game of Thrones with #ForTheThrone
HBO created a call to action this year for Game of Thrones fans, inviting them to tweet the main Twitter account with the #ForTheThrone hashtag to receive a Moment containing all of the character images and emojis. Billboards also displayed tweets from fans around the world.
"The brand was able to reward their most devoted fans with exclusive content to drive conversation and excitement on Twitter when launching something new," said Josephson. "In all the conversations we saw in 2018, they matched 33% of the conversation volume in just a 24-hour period around this activation where they were unlocking this content."
Best purpose-driven launch: Subaru's National #MakeADogsDay
Subaru created content to raise awareness and drive donations to the ASPCA, ultimately encouraging people to adopt shelter dogs. "The brand took a stand and connected to culture in a genuine, authentic way when launching something new," said Josephson.
Best connection to culture: Audi’s #etronGT Super Bowl tweets
To promote the launch of its e-tron SUV, Audi teased its Super Bowl spot on Twitter in the days before the event, raising intrigue. During the big game, Audi posted the full commercial on Twitter, making it the most-watched car ad on the social network during the Super Bowl.
Best brand voice: The Rita’s with Cran-Ber-Rita’s return
The brand strategically leveraged its own Twitter voice for the Cran-Ber-Rita’s relaunch.
Best #OnlyOnTwitter launch: Wendy’s spicy chicken nuggets relaunch
Wendy’s brought back spicy chicken nuggets, thanks to Chance the Rapper. After the star tweeted about wanting the chain to bring back the menu item, which was pulled in early 2017, Wendy’s retweeted him with a challenge for Twitter users: "The people in charge say if you guys can get our tweet (this one right here) to 2 Million likes, they will bring Spicy Chicken Nuggets back." Wendy’s said in another tweet that it only took one-and-a-half days for the goal to be met and confirmed that the nuggets will return.
Y’all keep asking, so here’s your chance.— Wendy's (@Wendys) May 4, 2019
The people in charge say if you guys can get our tweet (this one right here) to 2 Million likes, they will bring SPICY CHICKEN NUGGETS BACK.
Let’s freakin’ do this! https://t.co/qrtvWXjj9V
Best use of creators: BlackRock
The company leveraged influencers and creators to spread the word to drive awareness for its Investor Pulse Survey.
Saving for my retirement is not only to make sure I have a future to look forward to, but one that my kids can too. Have you started saving for retirement? If not, what’s holding you back? @blackrock #InvestorPulse https://t.co/q5SWLWkq7t #ad— Jessica (@MommasGoneCity) March 7, 2019
Best short-form video: Dunkin’s healthy menu items
Dunkin’ showed that a launch story can be told in even the shortest formats. The brand created a series of video content showcasing new menu items on Twitter.
Pop into Dunkin’ to add a boost of protein to your day with the Power Breakfast Sandwich and Egg White Dunkin' Bowl. Price and participation may vary. Limited time offer. pic.twitter.com/4a3ldBqEuP— Dunkin' (@dunkindonuts) June 13, 2019