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Twitter Advertising – When to use it

With more than 500m tweets sent daily and 320m active users, it was only a matter of time before Twitter became another advertising platform for business. It has only been offering ads focused on helping customers get a better Return On Investment (ROI) since 2013, but there are a number of ways to get new customers and increase brand awareness when you know how to advertise on Twitter.

There are a few key points to note about Twitter users in particular. This should help you decide whether your target audience fits key demographics that engage with tweets.

Getting this audience to respond to typical advertising takes work. If your product isn’t naturally suited to the more politically aware type, then you need to create a campaign that grabs their attention before introducing them to your product.

6 Good Reasons To Consider Advertising on Twitter 

  1. Twitter users are interested in engaging in conversation and spend an average of 170 minutes per month on Twitter.
  2. 79% of monthly active users are located outside the US.
  3. Twitter users are active, but not always visible. 46% log on at least every day, 29% multiple times per day. That does not count the number who read the home feed, or retweets (republished tweets). Most days multiple news stories and opinion commentary also include a discussion of what is being said on Twitter.
  4. Twitter is the perfect way to target more socially and politically aware young people. 38% of all US millennials are on Twitter, and they follow and engage with brands and social influencers that they care about. It’s not a passive relationship, because engagement is very easy, with no barrier to communication.
  5. Over 80% of world leaders are on Twitter, as are most CEOs and customer service representatives who interact with customers.
  6. Trending topics are a great indication of what people are interested in. They often make news, as do celebrity tweets, politicians, and other influential people.

Targeting On Twitter

  • Very straightforward targeting
  • Highly traceable
  • Age, device, WiFi connectivity, location, interests, and keywords can all be targeted
  • Make sure you create custom audiences to exclude to avoid double marketing and wasting money

There is a good range of options for targeting on Twitter. Not all of them are available with every type of ad, but most should be.

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Device
  • Interests – there are 25 main categories and many subcategories
  • Keyword Searches

Custom Audiences:

In addition to the options mentioned above, with Twitter Ads targeting you can narrow your audience selection according to user behaviors, such as the mobile carrier or WiFi connectivity. E-mail lists can also be used, or custom lists imported based on Twitter user id, mobile number, Twitter handle or mobile advertising ID. You customize your audience in step 2, and can also decide where Promoted Tweets appear here (User profile or Timelines/Feeds):


Pro tip: You should also create custom lists of users you want to exclude to avoid marketing the wrong service or product to existing customers. This is exactly the same process as selecting your target audience, just make sure you scroll down and select ‘Limit targeting by excluding tailored audiences’ or the ‘Limit targeting by excluding behaviors’ optionSee this screenshot for where you need to tick during setup on Twitter Ads:


Remarketing and custom audiences:

The fact that audience targeting can be customized this way makes it a great way to remarket to your ideal target audience too. Twitter is a relatively low cost and effective platform for remarketing in general, so it pays to take advantage of this.

Targeting via Twitter handles:

Another useful, niche way to target a specific audience is via a specific Twitter handle. This is an exciting option for online marketing, where Twitter will use an algorithm to select a similar audience to display your ad based on a handle you select. It can take a lot of guesswork out of targeting and avoid displaying ads to users who won’t be interested.

Twitter Ad Campaign Types

  • There are six Twitter Ad types, with different image recommendations and requirements
  • For initial instructions, the guides on Twitter itself show you how to setup your first campaign
  • Twitter has three ways to generate conversions and increase sales: Lead generation, App Install ads and Increase Website Conversions

Ads can be created to do a number of things, and Twitter’s setup is very easy. You can create and save multiple campaigns, pause them and adjust budgets with the click of a button and there are helpful business guides to walk you through the process on the Advertising menu item:

1) Attract New Twitter Followers Campaign:

You should create a Twitter Follower campaign to establish your fanbase on Twitter. This is how they appear on the Home Feed:


They look like this on the right of the Feed:


Pro tip – you should not use images in follower ads, because they detract from the ‘follow’ button and might distract users from actually following you.

2) Increase Website Clicks Or Conversions Campaign:

Ads for conversions are appropriate for when you want to drive traffic to a specific page, so that people will sign up or buy your offer. They might also be promoting an event happening near certain users, with a single page link you want to drive traffic to. Here’s an example:


A great hook is essential for this because you only get to use a tagline, image and link and a call to action button. Each one has to be effective and clear about the action you want users to take. Here is an example:

You’ll need a conversion tracking tag setup with this type of ad. It triggers a snippet of text for users and allows for monitoring the ROI from a specific campaign. This also works for remarketing to target audiences or creating a custom-made audience list on Twitter.

Conversion tracking is setup from Tools in the top menu bar:


The main screen explains how to create your tracking tag to insert on your website:


Pro tip – Set up conversion tracking early, before you advertise, so that you have an idea of where your traffic is coming from and there is more time to collect meaningful data

3) Encourage App Installs Or App Engagement:

This is self-explanatory – you would use this type of ad to point users to your App on the App store, and encourage them to download it or purchase it with your ad.

With App ads you can promote a Google Play or App Store URL, and target those who have yet to install your App, or remarket to those who have.


Pro tip – You’ll want to remember that with App Install Twitter Cards you pay for all clicks to the install website, and not for the number of downloads of your App.

4) Lead Generation Campaign:

These ads let you collect e-mail addresses and user information directly from Twitter. You can choose to promote an ebook, optin offer, coupon or e-mail subscription service. There are also some guidelines you need to follow for these ads. Here’s what they look like in the Twitter Feed:


  • Images must be at least 800 pixels wide, with a 4:1 (width, height) aspect ration.
  • They must also be no larger than 1MB, and can be in JPG, JPEG, PNG or GIF format.

You also get more to include in your ad:

  • A title
  • A call to action
  • Short description
  • A link to your company privacy policy
  • A final landing page after the form or lead is submitted


You can manually download e-mails collected through Twitter using a CSV file format, or you can automatically have them imported by using lead generation cards.

Pro tip: for lead generation campaigns you only pay per lead. There’s nothing to lose, so it’s worth considering because you only pay for a completed form, not per click.

5) Tweet Promotion Campaign:

Promoted tweets will help you expand the reach of your message across different groups of Twitter users. You can combine them with promoting an event, driving traffic to your site, special offers or a piece of content. These normally look just like an ordinary tweet but you pay to have it show up in a user’s Home Feed.

A promoted tweet is clearly labeled as ‘promoted’ but will still appear on top of search results, on trend pages where hashtags are used and on profiles. See an example here:


6) Trend Promotion Campaign:

Promoted trends are used to feature big corporations or organisations, or promote conversation next to the Twitter feed on the home screen, with organic trending topics. For trend promotions you will need a minimum budget of $100,000.


Choosing An Ad Campaign

When you’re trying to build your e-mail list, and increase sales, the main types of ads to use are ones to increase website conversions, generate leads and have users install Apps. Promoted tweets and trends would be useful if you are organizing a one-off sale or event, for example. They’ll also help you increase general brand awareness to prepare for a product launch happening soon.

If you’re wondering what sort of campaign will work best for you, you can select ‘help me choose’ from the drop down menu for general tips and advice.

Paying For Ads On Twitter

As you’d expect, Twitter uses the standard Pay Per Click (PPC) or Cost Per Mille (CPM) – per thousand impressions payment models. It’s going to be a question of what you want to achieve with the campaign what you’ll choose and how much to spend.

If you’re looking to generate awareness and spread your message far and wide, CPM can be effective, but for website clicks or sales after just a couple of clicks, you’d choose CPC.

Pro tip – There’s no need to limit the number of campaigns you set up on Twitter. You can test different target markets, different images and different messages.

How Twitter Charges For Advertising:

Twitter charges according to what type of campaign you have set up. For example on a Clicks and Conversions campaign, you’ll be paying for each click that goes through to your website and comes directly from the tweets that are part of that campaign. This doesn’t include any clicks through to your own website on other Tweets on your account, your profile, retweets or favorites.

On a follower campaign, you’ll be charged for each new follower according to the budget you set at the beginning. App Installs are on a PPC model and Engagements, or Lead Generation campaigns, are paid per lead submitted.

Automatic Bidding:

You can set up automatic bidding and let Twitter decide for you how much to pay for each click or action. Do this in step 3, and to see the option just click ‘Show Advanced’:



This requires monitoring, and you will need to be ready to step in and manually adjust if you are not happy with results.

Twitter is a great option for advertising, as it has a huge audience, strong customer support and a lot of campaign types to choose from. This all works to help your business reach your market on Twitter.

Ilan Shabad
Ilan Shabad
Ilan is the Co-Founder & Head of the SEO team at One Egg Digital. He has over ten years’ experience in delivering business growth across start-ups to multi-national enterprise-level clients.

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