Twitter turns trending stories into YouTube ads within minutes of breaking

September 2017

Twitter’s award-winning “See What’s Happening” campaign used real-time data and TrueView in-stream ads to drive awareness and site traffic – and attracted millions of views.


Make audiences aware of Twitter’s unique proposition and how it differs from traditional news hubs

Drive new visitors and returning visitors to see what is trending on Twitter. Increase the brand perception ‘Twitter gives me stories I can’t get elsewhere’


Trending stories were turned into TrueView in-stream ads on YouTube, creating ads that react to news as quickly as Twitter does


13M video views

Watched by 7.1M unique users

Ad-recall that was 5x higher than any previous Twitter campaign

Significant increase in Twitter NPS


Twitter is an online news and social networking service that enables its users to consume and contribute information, news and stories on a multitude of topics, from a variety of different angles, in an instant.

The goal was to create a campaign that perfectly reflected Twitter’s proposition, and how it differs from traditional news hubs. A fast-paced and responsive campaign was needed, one that would enable real-time data and stories to be shown in a way that was unique to Twitter, pushing the tagline ‘it’s what’s happening’ as far as it could go. The aim was to raise awareness of how Twitter provides stories that users can’t find elsewhere, and to drive visitors/returning visitors to see what was trending on Twitter.

How was this achieved? The first step involved selecting stories that were trending on Twitter. With the help of their agency, Twitter then turned these stories into bespoke copy, which it entered into a custom ad generation tool. The tool immediately rendered the copy into any ad format that was needed. TrueView in-stream was the ad format of choice because of its non-disruptive nature. This pre-roll video ad gives the user the option to skip after the first 5-seconds. The advertiser is only charged once the user has watched 30 seconds or more of the ad, or to its completion (if the ad is shorter than 30 seconds). Short and snappy TrueView ads were created:

“We saw a significant increase in Twitter NPS and an uplift in the brand perception. Furthermore, we increased ad-recall by 5x compared to previous campaigns"

– Niamh O’Reilly, Head of Consumer Marketing EMEA, Twitter 

Twitter showed ads to audiences on YouTube who were interested in pop culture, gaming, TV and movies. Every ad was carefully designed to be highly relevant to its audience, explains Niamh O’Reilly, Head of Consumer Marketing EMEA at Twitter: “Based on the subject matter of the story we delivered each unique execution to targeted placements. So for example, a story about Kanye building momentum on Twitter would appear before a Kanye video on YouTube. This was made possible thanks to YouTube’s amazing support and collaboration with us and our agencies.”

As well as using topic, placement and affinity targeting, Twitter also identified videos that were trending on YouTube and showed ads against them, thereby reaching an ideal audience; those who were hungry for trending stories and wanted to be the first to know what was happening.

After six weeks, the TrueView campaign had received 13M video views and was watched by 7.1M unique users. It clocked up an additional 5K earned views. (An earned view occurs when someone views your video ad and then watches another video/s in a linked YouTube channel within 7 days of the ad being viewed).

Niamh attests to the success of the campaign: “We saw a significant increase in Twitter NPS and an uplift in the brand perception 'Twitter gives me stories I can't get elsewhere’. Furthermore, we increased ad-recall by 5x compared to previous campaigns."

Award-winning success

Celebrating further success and receiving industry recognition – this campaign struck gold at Campaign's 2017 Creative Tech Awards, where they secured ‘Agency Tech Collaboration of the Year’.

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