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2019 Gold Best Use of Marketing Automation


Agency: Merkle

Client: Twitter

Campaign Name: Magpie: A 100% AI-driven multichannel marketing

Campaign Overview

Twitter wanted to turn its conversations into targeted ads.

Magpie was born - a custom campaign management tool using bespoke AI to analyse topics and curate personalised trends in real-time, delivered as quick, slick digital ads across display and search formats.


The fast-paced nature of Twitter poses a problem for its marketers: how can they predict the day’s big news stories and effectively serve them to users as ads?

Merkle devised a way, harnessing Twitter's API and machine learning to create trends-based text ads in real-time.

A successful prototype became a full-blown, multichannel campaign management tool, using AI to drive personalised and coherent creative across.

Named Magpie, it analyses live tweet data to detect breaking news and viral topics, and uses multiple machine learning models to pinpoint audiences.

They receive customised ads, with an algorithm deciding spend.

It all happens in near real-time, Magpie serving hundreds of personalised ads every day - with minimal human intervention.


Every hour, Magpie pulls the UK's top trends and fetches the top Tweets for each trend.

A natural language algorithm then analyses the Tweets to categorise each trend and infer sentiment.

It determines if trends are brand-safe.

The results are used to identify appropriate audiences across search and display.

Magpie generates dozens of different ads with tailored copy, including responsive HTML5 ads created on the fly and custom landing pages.

A regression algorithm predicts daily trend performance based on historical data of similar topics.

Ads are launched and stay live as long as the topic is trending, optimised each hour by Magpie.


Magpie improved the performance of Twitter’s digital campaign, increasing conversions by 212% year on year, with cost per conversion falling by 51%.

The solution has aligned Twitter's marketing strategy with its core brand value of being the source of real-time news and conversions.

It is believed to be the first use of bespoke AI to fully automate a multichannel campaign.

When a new trend or story breaks, Twitter has relevant ads across multiple search and display networks within 15 minutes.

Magpie allows Twitter to cover 1,200 trending topics daily, reaching tens of thousands of users.

The Team

James Howard, Account Director, Merkle - Tom Parker, Account Lead, Merkle - Pia Zelenka, Senior Account Manager, Merkle - Seb Humphreys, Account Manager, Merkle

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