Twitter has been touting itself as a vehicle for marketing from well before its IPO; and while many brands have successfully used Promoted Tweets and other Twitter ad products, the full potential of the platform for ecommerce has always been somewhat lacking. A recent Starbucks campaign, however, has demonstrated the potential of Twitter for just that kind of interaction. The program, called “Tweet a Coffee,” allowed consumers to buy coffee for friends on Twitter; the program started in late October, and according to a researcher, it has been something of a promising success.
Research firm Keyhole tracked all of the instances in which someone used “@tweetacoffee” alongside a friend’s Twitter username. The company says that the campaign has prompted some $180,000 in purchases since its launch, with more than 27,000 fans using the program. Starbucks has not yet commented on the program, but Keyhole co-founder Saif Ajani, said that the victory for the coffee company is not just in the initial flush of enthusiasm for the program. The real victory, he says, is that Starbucks has now linked 54,000 users’ IDs to their mobile phones and customer IDs. The program, launched on October 28 of this year, allows participants to give a $5 gift card to a friend by putting both @tweetacoffee and the friend’s handle in the tweet. In order to make this possible, the user has to link their Starbucks account to Twitter and their credit card to the account.
Ajani says about the larger victory of the program, “Here’s proof that direct-response [marketing] works on Twitter.” He commented that, considering that the initial investment cost of the campaign could not have been very high, $180,000 in purchases was a very healthy return. And of course, Starbucks can now use these signups to engage with those users and find out what interests them; with the growing importance of data in marketing, that’s a major boon for the coffee brand.