Q&A: How InVision uses Twitter Ads for event marketing

By Marissa Window

Event marketing plays an important role in drumming up excitement and raising awareness. But how do make sure you're inviting the right people? How do you show ROI to your wider team?

One brand that stands out with their event marketing strategy and targeted Twitter Ads is prototyping and workflow platform @InVisionApp. We chatted with Jose Fernandez, Staff Engineer at InVision, to learn how the engineering team attracts attendees for their recruiting events.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Jose Fernandez and I’m a Staff Engineer at InVision. Early in my career, I wrote software for sales and marketing. That experience taught a lot about how to sell an idea. I’m passionate about finding and recruiting talent, and I believe that the traditional recruiting model of cold-calling or waiting for applications to flow in is not enough for our very competitive market.

Tell us a bit about InVision.

At InVision we’re empowering engineers to come up with creative solutions to problems. We follow the leader-leader model. In its simplest form, the leader-leader model forces you to push power and responsibility as low on the organizational hierarchy as possible. We are a distributed company and our invisioneers are from all over the world.

What's your role at InVision?

My role mainly involves solving problems, but not just technical ones. Because I don’t belong to a team or work on a particular software project, I can step back and look at the big picture: how are we doing as an engineering organization? This helps me identify problems that might not be visible to engineers or managers working on individual software projects.

Tell us a bit about the campaign you launched. Was this your first Twitter Ads campaign?

I believe tech companies rely too much on digital communication and not enough on social interactions. In recruiting there is no better sales tool than in-person chats. We’re a growing company and finding talented developers has always been a challenge. We decided to host a casual beer and pizza mingler in my hometown of Minneapolis (we’re a 100% all-remote company). This was an experiment and we didn’t want to bog down the marketing team, so we decided to handle most of the work ourselves. 

We decided to use Twitter Ads for two reasons: its ability to target based on who you follow (something other ad platforms don't provide) and the fact that it has the biggest user share of developers. 

What was your goal for this campaign?

Our goal was to get 40 attendees for the event. The marketing team suggested we get 80 RSVPs to factor in a 50% attendance rate. We selected the campaign type for getting link clicks and pointed to a blog post about the event which had a link to RSVP.

How did you plan and create Twitter Ads that will resonate with your target audience? 

The obvious benefit we had was that we were marketing to a persona we understood well: developers. We experimented with a lot of variations of the text and got feedback from other InVision developers: would you click on this link? Why? Why Not?

We also found Twitter cards very helpful. The way they frame your image helps you stand out from regular Tweets and other ads not using them. 

@InVisionAppEng used a Twitter Card to promote their event. They added a “RSVP now for a chance to win $300” call-to-action to encourage clicks.

What were your results?

We ran the campaign for a week and got 360 clicks. 85 of those clicks RSVPed. 40 of those people attended the event. It cost us about $25 per attendee in marketing costs. 

What's one interesting thing you learned?

I found that targeting solely by interests isn't always the most effective because anyone could show interest in a technology. By getting more specific we were able to reach our target audience. A software engineer is pretty likely to follow a particular programming language or the developers associated with it on Twiter.

Did you do any testing? How did you optimize your campaign?

We were closely watching the ad’s metrics the first couple of days, but once we started seeing a steady stream of daily RSVPs, we knew we had a winner.

Do you plan on using Twitter Ads for future projects?

Yes! We plan to continue using Twitter Ads for all our recruiting events. The ROI was evident and now it’s easier to get a Twitter Ads budget approved.

What advice would you give to someone who isn’t on a marketing team and wants to start using Twitter Ads? 

First I’d assure them that there is no easier learning stage: Twitter’s ad platform is the most user-friendly one, there is almost no learning curve. 

Get feedback from people in your company that match the persona you're trying to target. Finally, always have a CTA (call-to-action) in your text: ie. RSVP now. You’d be surprised by how much this helps.

Any final tips for teams getting started with Twitter Ads?

Experiment, experiment, experiment! There are no bad ideas. In fact, you might find the entire process of thinking of creative ways to sell people on an idea very enjoyable. I love it! 

Know a brand doing interesting things on Twitter? Tweet us @TwitterBusiness.

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