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Oliver Ewbank

Why You Should Market in the Moment

28th Mar 2014 Brand 6 minutes to read

TwitterReal time marketing is the latest craze to hit the digital world. Brands are jumping on current events as they unfold while reaping the rewards of interacting with their target audience. Tube strikes, Oscar selfies and football transfers have all been successfully exploited by brands ready to market in the moment. So what are the best platforms for real time marketing, and is it cost effective?

This blog post will look at the benefits of real time marketing and why you should plan for the unexpected.

What is Marketing in the Moment?

Marketing in the moment is when you launch a campaign as events unfold. This could be a news story like last year’s horse meat scandal or something as simple as the latest tube strike. The best platforms to instantly launch a real time campaign tend to be Google AdWords or Twitter.

You can Pay Per Click and bid on a trending topic or you can interact with real time events through social media hash tags.

Twitter Examples

Twitter is a superb tool to market in the moment. There are millions of moments to engage with users and 80% of use is mobile. If an event is unfolding it is guaranteed to trend on Twitter. This year #Grammys had 15.2 million Tweets while Ellen’s Oscar selfie was viewed more than 3.3 billion times during just a 12-hour period.

To market in the moment on Twitter you have two options ‘earned media’ and ‘paid media’. Below is an example of Adidas earning media coverage through the latest tube strike.


Piggyback Marketing

Even if your product or service has nothing to do with a particular news story there is still a huge opportunity to earn media. Piggyback marketing is a great way to capture the interest of breaking news and promote your product at the same time. This form of marketing is extremely cost effective and can be a great way to grow your social following.

For example, when Real Madrid were negotiating to buy Gareth Bale for £86million Innocent Drinks published what other things you could buy for this amount of money (including their own innocent smoothies). This piece of marketing was favourited 1,494 times and had 4,910 retweets.


If you don’t have the resources to earn media through Twitter there are a number of paid features you can use. The most popular are:

Promoted Tweets

Promoted Tweets help you reach users at the right moment in the right context. The beauty of this targeting method is you only pay when a user engages with your promoted Tweet. The promoted Tweets will appear in search results and timelines (example below) and you can bid on keywords and hash tags.

For example you could start bidding on trending keywords as they happen e.g  #tubestrike #flooding #wembley

02 Promoted Tweet

Promoted Accounts

You can promote your brand’s Twitter account by suggesting to users who to follow. This will help you reach more followers who are likely to be interested in your brand. You can target users by interest to make sure you engage with the right audience. The beauty of this marketing method is you only pay when people follow your account.

For example, a betting company could promote their account to users who are interested in Ascot racing results while the event takes place.

Promoted Twitter Account

Promoted Trends

Promoted Trends are ideal if you want massive exposure for your brand. This feature allows you to position your brand above the day’s trending topics. When a user clicks on your Promoted Trend it will take them to the message you display through a Promoted Tweet. Again, timing is everything. If you know a certain event is going to take place this can be extremely effective.

For example, a sunglasses company like RayBan could trend on the first day of summer.

Promoted Trends

As with most biddable media you can target Twitter users by:

  • Keyword search results
  • Interest
  • Geographical location
  • Similarity to existing followers
  • Device (mobile or desktop)
  • Time
  • Keywords in timeline

AdWords Examples

AdWords is another excellent tool for marketing in the moment. You can target users by time, device and location. If a significant event happens you can make sure you are there to capitalise on real time trends. Most recently LinkRisk cleverly targeted users who may have a penalty as a result of posting on MyBlogGuest (see example below).


Brand Exposure

If you market in the moment on AdWords you can achieve huge brand exposure and pay less per click. Ann Summers is a classic example of a brand that has achieved this over the years. Most famously their election campaigns (see below).

Ann Summers

News Related Searches

It’s no secret that news stories prompt immediate searches on Google. If you get in early on new search trends you can stream cheap traffic and still achieve a respectable quality score. For example, a home insurance company could bid on traffic related to flooding news.

Reputation Management

If a company receives bad exposure they can often achieve damage control by bidding on AdWords traffic while events take place. For example, BP have been known to bid on Google search terms like “oil spill” and other oil related searches during failed attempts to seal over a well spillage. Directing users to BP’s oil response sites massively helped their brand reputation.


In the UK weather is a massive influencing factor on search trends. You can automatically bid by weather using AdWords scripts. The weather script will programmatically fetch weather information and adjust bids in a matter of minutes. If you don’t have the budget for AdWords below is another example of how you can use weather to increase engagement.

Thomas Cook

Planning Your Campaign

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. It can be difficult to plan for the unexpected but if you have a detailed content calendar you can be ready for annual events and plan your marketing activity. What could you do on Valentine’s Day? What could you do on Pancake Day? Are you prepared for Wimbledon? Could you piggyback off this year’s World Cup stories? Will there be an industry conference for your brand? Could you advertise on an events hash tag? The more days you factor into your annual calendar the more the opportunity for earned media or cheaper biddable clicks.


At last year’s Wimbledon the #Hitthewinner, Adidas’ real-time game, was mentioned 8,500 times and produced strong engagement rates.

The Benefits

There are numerous benefits to real time marketing on Twitter and Google AdWords.


  • Engage with your target audience
  • Earn free media coverage
  • Build your social following
  • Grow social signals
  • Piggyback on real time trends
  • Promoted accounts (only pay when you get followers)
  • Promoted tweets (only pay on engagement)


  • Capture real time search trends
  • Brand exposure
  • Cheaper CPC’s on real time searches
  • Cheaper CPA’s on real time searches
  • Control your reputation and have damage control
  • Bid by weather trends
  • Greater ROI value
  • Less competition (zero competition if you are quick)


So there you have it. Marketing in the moment can be an excellent way to earn media coverage and grow your social following. The biddable features on both Twitter and AdWords make targeting extremely cost effective. Create a calendar of events and start planning for the unexpected.

Image Credits

Twitter from Bigstock
Twitter Ads from Twitter

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