Actionable tips, community conversations, and marketing inspiration.

Getting Started With Advertising on Twitter

Aiden Dalley

Principal Product Marketing Manager

When it comes to social media and advertising, there might not be a platform as polarizing as Twitter. This microblogging platform offers brands excellent opportunities to connect organically with their customers. It also provides options for paid advertising. Twitter may not offer the robust ad formats of other social media platforms—especially Facebook and Instagram—but it can be a powerful tool for cost-effective campaigns.

Of course, no discussion of Twitter advertising can happen without addressing the elephant in the room: Twitter, under the ownership of Elon Musk, has made sweeping changes to the platform within the last year. And while some significant advertisers are withdrawing their paid efforts from the platform, others are taking advantage of looser content moderation policies to reach new audiences.

If you plan to use paid ads on Twitter as part of your marketing strategy, be aware that the tactics, pricing, and rules related to advertising might change as soon as tomorrow.

Let’s dive into how Twitter currently works for advertisers, including some Twitter ads best practices to help maximize the value of your advertising dollars.

Set up a Twitter Ads Account

Creating a Twitter ads account is relatively simple, especially if you already have an existing Twitter account. If you don’t, go to Twitter.com and create an account. If you already have one, log into the account you want to use to post ads. From there, follow these steps:

  1. Go to ads.twitter.com.

  2. Choose your selected country and local time zone. The country you choose is the currency you’ll be billed in. The time zone is when you’d like your campaign results to appear. You can’t change these values once you’ve created your account.

  3. Depending on your choices, you’ll be brought to a campaign setup form or Twitter Promote Mode setup.

  4. Provide billing information to finalize your ads account.

  5. Start your campaign.

After you create the account, take the necessary steps to secure it. Security is essential for advertisers. The following best practices help ensure your account security:

  1. Link the account to a company domain email address. Not your personal one. This helps if you need to reset your password.

  2. Ensure the passwords for your email address and Twitter account are different. Use a password manager to help keep them straight.

  3. Make sure you use login verification (two-factor authentication).

  4. Before you type your login information, ensure the URL points to Twitter.com.

  5. Only authorize recognized applications. Keep track of which applications have connections to your account.

Choose an Advertising Objective

Like other platforms, the campaign objective is the first building block of your Twitter advertising efforts. Campaign objectives help optimize your advertising efforts toward your goals. You’ll only pay for actions aligning with these goals, so understanding how they work is crucial to success in ads.

Each type of campaign objective has one or more sub-objectives beneath it. Before you build an ad campaign, read up on the following advertising objectives to ensure you’ve picked the right one.

Awareness

As the cornerstone of brand awareness campaigns on Twitter, the Reach objective tries to put your ad in front of as many people as possible within a given period. You’ll choose this objective for ads that:

  • Build brand awareness

  • Improve brand perception

  • Build relevance for occasions, topics, or events

  • Promote product launches or new messages

Ultimately, the Reach objective puts your name out there and helps connect your brand with potential new customers and audiences.

Consideration

Twitter advertisers can use consideration campaigns to drive engagement, website traffic, video views, or app installs. They’re meant to create interest in your product, service, or brand. Depending on your specific brand or niche, the consideration campaign objective has several options that can fit your advertising goals well. They include:

  • Video views: Fresh videos are an excellent way to catch people’s eyes. This type of campaign extends your videos’ reach and helps drive awareness. Build connections with customers who engage with your video and other media formats like GIFs, live videos, and native videos.

  • Pre-roll views: With a pre-roll views campaign, you can put your amplified content in front of people already watching video content on the site. Pre-roll video ads or branded sponsorships run before content from publishers, sports organizations, and news sites.

  • Engagements: Engagement ads put your name and products in front of audiences to raise awareness and push engagement metrics like likes, Retweets, replies, and profile visits. If you have a product to launch or want to build a dialogue with consumers, this objective is for you.

  • Followers: Promote your account with the followers objective to attract new followers. Grow your audience to build a bench of brand advocates. Every new account that follows you is an opportunity to spread your reach, drive web traffic, and increase purchases or downloads. But it all starts with building enthusiasm around your brand, and acquiring paid followers can help.

  • Website traffic: Want to drive users to your website? A website traffic campaign can help with that. This objective can push users to visit your site to view products, read articles, and more. 

  • App installs: Twitter is a mobile-first platform, an excellent way to drive more app installs and downloads. This objective promotes your app to the people most likely to convert to the app store. Showcase new features and reach new mobile audiences with this campaign.

Conversion

App re-engagements: App downloads are great, but driving people to open or take action in the app is even better. The app re-engagement campaign focuses on pushing your app to the top of their minds, driving brand loyalty, and re-targeting those users who haven’t opened the app in a while.


Website conversions: The final major ad campaign objective category focuses on website conversions. These campaigns generate conversions on your website for specific audiences. Reach users who are more likely to convert on low-funnel web actions. Whether focused on sales or email signups, converting your customer is simpler when you use Twitter ads to reach them.

Define Your Target Audience

Every ad needs an audience, but how do you choose the correct one? Twitter allows advertisers to define target audiences in several ways. How you choose to target your audience can significantly impact your campaign's success, so you need to think carefully about what options make sense.

Available audience targeting options include:

  • Demographics: Demographic targeting allows you to reach users based on location, language, device, age, and gender.

  • Audience types: With this audience targeting method, you can show your ads to people based on events, tweet engagement, keywords, movies and TV, interests, and even conversations.

  • Your audiences: Create custom audiences for your ads or show them to accounts that follow you.

Most of these targeting options are similar to those on other social media channels like Facebook or Instagram. Let’s look at three major ones many advertisers find work well on Twitter.

Target by conversation

Public discussion is the bread and butter of Twitter, so it makes sense that you can target potential audiences by seeking out specific conversations. Choose from over 10,000 topics across 25 categories. Whether your audience loves sports, video games, books, or other lifestyle categories, you can insert your ads into their discussions and put more eyes on your content.

Target by followers

You can add your existing followers to your target audience. Within the ads manager, navigate to your campaign form's Targeting > Audience features section. There’s an additional options section where you can check a box that says, “Also target followers of your account.”

Target by events

Twitter allows you to target events to garner interest and reach enthusiastic attendees up to two weeks before an event. You can also target audiences up to three weeks later to reinforce that buzz. Targeting events usually requires targeting by geo-location. Most of the time, Twitter doesn’t recommend adding additional parameters outside of language. This lets you reach people attending the event without including other less interested parties.

Create Your Twitter Ad

You can use existing Tweets as ads or create new ones by filling in the Ad details fields. The different types of ads you can build are listed below:

Twitter Promoted Ads

Promoted ads appear in the user timeline and resemble normal tweets. They support several different media formats

  • Text Ads: Basic text ads with no images. Up to 240 characters.

  • Image Ads: Showcase products or services with a single photo.

  • Video Ads: Bring your products to life, drive people to websites and apps, or encourage engagement.

  • Carousel Ads: Show up to six horizontally swipeable images or videos to show off multiple products.

  • Moments Ads: Curate a collection of Tweets to tell a story in more than the allotted 280 characters.

  • Twitter Live Ads: Broadcast moments to the world and allow your audience to interact in real time. Twitter Live ads can help with product launches and conferences.

  • Follower Ads: Increase visibility for your brand and promote accounts to audiences to attract new followers.

Advanced Twitter Ads

The following advanced ads aren’t just some of the most dynamic on the Twitter platform. They’re also among the most expensive options. Most of the time, these are out of reach of smaller companies and brands.

  • Twitter Amplify: Amplify ads allow you to push your video content in front of premium video content from publishers. You can choose between pre-roll videos or sponsorships.

  • Twitter Takeover: These premium mass-reach ad placements take over the Timeline and Explore tabs. Timeline takeover ads put brands at the top of the conversation as the first ad of the day. Trend Takeover ads place your marketing alongside current nationwide and global trends. 

  • Dynamic Product Ads: Dynamic Product Ads let you show the most relevant products to the appropriate customers. DPA retargeting enables you to serve ads to targeted customers that showcase products they’ve engaged with but haven’t purchased. You can also prospect new customers by featuring the most relevant products.

  • Collection Ads: If you’ve got a collection of product images that includes a hero image and smaller thumbnails, you can use a Collection ad to showcase your products or services. Highlight up to six unique products or promotions at once without requiring your audience to swipe through like a Carousel.

Twitter Ads Features

In addition to rich media, Twitter allows you to add extra branded features for your ads. The major options available to advertisers include:

  • Polls: This eye-catching widget lets your audience vote on their favorite products, colors, or other topics.

  • Conversion Buttons: Drive engagement and spark conversations with branded hashtags or CTAs that users can click on and use right from your ad.

  • App Buttons: Push users directly to their device-specific app store or download page. Sometimes, you can even configure this ad to open already present apps on the user’s device.

  • Website Buttons: Let users click through to a landing page from your ad.

  • Branded Hashtag: Add a fun visual element to your brand’s hashtags across the platform to encourage conversation and get your event or product trending.

  • Branded Notification: This ad feature pushes information about your company’s products or experiences at a moment of your choosing.

Set Your Ad Budget

Once you’ve chosen your campaign objective, you’ll need to determine your campaign budget. Set a daily maximum budget and—optionally—a total campaign budget. Twitter serves ads to users based on an auction system. Twitter Ads compares the price you’re willing to pay and the quality of your ads. Each ad receives a “quality score” that considers the ad’s resonance, relevance, and recency. 

Choose how much you’re willing to pay for each interaction. With Autobid, Twitter sets your bid to get optimal results at the lowest price. If you’re new to Twitter, this can be a good fit. Alternatively, you can set up the maximum bid type to choose precisely how much you want to pay for an impression.

Target bids, a third option, are limited to followers, website traffic, reach, app install, and app-re-engagement campaigns. In this system, you name the bid you want to pay per action. The campaign then auto-optimizes the bids to achieve a daily average cost that meets or beats the target bid. 

Launch and Monitor Your Ad Campaign

Twitter offers transparency with its measurement platform. You can compare campaign performance with ads manager, but that’s just for starters. You can even track conversions using the Twitter Pixel or Conversions API. Twitter also offers demographic breakdowns to show whom you’re reaching—and who you’re not. You can even quantify the impact of ads that drive in-store foot traffic. One important metric to consider as part of your advertising efforts is your return on ad spend (ROAS).

If you’re unsure how Twitter ROAS compares with other platforms, our ROAS calculator can help.

Maximize the Power of Twitter Ads

Twitter ads can be a powerful tool for getting your products and services out there. But knowing how to leverage the platform effectively takes time. Luckily, there are plenty of tools to help you measure the impact of your social media marketing. AdRoll offers a comprehensive suite of tools to manage your connected social ads. Find out how you can manage social media advertising programs multiple channels with our social media advertising platform today.

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