CustomMade targeted ads at consumers with specific interests.

Online marketplace CustomMade Ventures Corp., which enables online shoppers to find craftsmen who can make custom items, says that it increased its referral traffic from Twitter 15-fold via a mix of regular and Promoted Tweets, which enable marketers to pay to increase the prominence of a post.

About three months ago CustomMade had about 3,500 Twitter followers, too few to drive a significant number of shoppers to its site, says Mike Salguero, CustomMade CEO.

To boost its follower base, the marketplace began using Twitter’s Promoted Tweets ad product.

CustomMade crafts many of its tweets based on topics it found trending in Twitter’s Trends box, which highlights what large number of users are posting about on the microblogging service. By including the hashtag of a trending topic in a tweet, CustomMade enables consumers to discover its posts when they click on, or search for, the trending topic. Any word that starts with a pound sign (#) is a hashtag, which becomes a clickable link to all other mentions of that word.

That approach works particularly well when certain movies are trending, says Stephanie Jossey, CustomMade acquisition marketing manager. For example, when the release of “Star Trek Into Darkness” made that a popular topic on Twitter the retailer’s tweets highlighted a Star Trek engagement ring that one of its sellers makes. It then used Twitter’s targeting tools to present a Promoted Tweet with that message to consumers whose profiles showed they were interested in Star Trek, science fiction and other related topics.


Roughly one in 10 consumers who saw the Star Trek tweet clicked on it—far higher than CustomMade’s typical 1% to 3% engagement rate.

That approach also helped the marketplace attract new followers—it now has more than 7,500. And that growth has helped it increase the amount of referral traffic from Twitter 15-fold, says Salguero. Roughly 1.2% of the site’s traffic stems from Twitter, according to web analytics vendor Alexa Internet Inc., a subsidiary of Inc. For the sake of comparison, 0.31% of the traffic to the web sites for the 50 retailers with the largest number of followers in the 2013 Social Media 300 stemmed from Twitter.

Salguero says consumers who follow a brand are more likely to engage with its posts—by retweeting, replying, clicking the Favorite button (Twitter’s version of a Facebook Like) and sharing it via e-mail. Thus, more followers translates into more engagement.

Overall the Promoted Tweets campaign cost CustomMade about $15,000. That’s well worth it, Salguero says, because once a consumer follows the brand he will continue to see CustomMade’s tweets whenever he looks at his timeline, the first page a consumer sees when logging on to Twitter.