An Introduction to Twitter Ads

Twitter has its share of critics. Some complain that they don’t understand the social media, and some just don’t understand how they make money. Despite this, businesses have found ways to use Twitter as a marketing channel to help them grow their businesses.
For starters, Twitter is a powerful tool for engaging your audience, but in this article, I will assume that you are already using all the best practices to manage your Twitter presence.

  • You follow relevant people in your industry
  • You participate in conversations, instead of just blasting out tweets
  • You answer people’s questions and are helpful
  • You use the search feature to find the best people to connect with

If you’re already doing all of that, then the next step is to…

Kick it up a notch: Twitter Ads

Twitter launched its first ad platform in 2010. Since then, the service has changed and evolved, and now there are a number of things you can do with twitter ads:

  • You can pay to promote a specific tweet
  • You can pay to promote your entire account
  • You can pay to promote a trend

In addition to the types of promotions, there are different types of ad cards, which allow you to drive traffic to:

  • A website
  • Drive app downloads
  • Generate leads directly off a twitter form

Why use Twitter?

According to DMR’s most recent study in February 2017, around 74% of Twitter users in the US follow a business on Twitter. This means that Twitter users have actively signed up to listen to what these companies have to say. In other words, they’re engaged. There are very few places online where you will be able to reach such an engaged audience.
Twitter ads allow you to connect with more of these types of users, and also allows you to ensure that these users are seeing your message.

Where do you see Twitter Ads?

Twitter ads have gone through a few different iterations since their launch, but now you can see ads in almost every part of the Twitter platform.

  • Promoted tweets appear in a user’s timeline, in search results and on certain partner sites
  • Promoted accounts appear in the timeline and in the account search screen
  • Promoted trends appear in the trends list and in search results

These ads can also appear on relevant user profiles and in the official Twitter clients.

When do you see Twitter Ads?

According to Twitter, “A Promoted Tweet will appear in a user’s timeline only if the Tweet is likely to be interesting and relevant to that user.”
Much like other ad platforms use information available to them about a user to determine their interests, Twitter does the same to display only the most relevant ads to their users. This is based primarily on the user’s behavior on Twitter. Who did they follow? What did they like? Retweet? Reply to?
In addition, a promoted tweet will only target each user once, so you know that when you spend money on Twitter ads, you’re targeting different people.
An example of a text ad on Twitter
An example of a video ad on Twitter

Some Tips on Building an Engaging Twitter Ad

  1. Understand your objectives. If your goal is to grow you audience, doing a promoted tweet probably won’t help you as much as doing a promoted account. If your goal is to drive traffic to your website, a promoted tweet might be the way to go. Luckily, Twitter’s ad interface has been redesigned to help take the guess work out of this for you by starting with your objectives.
  2. Target the right audience. With any ad, knowing your audience is key, but with Twitter, it might be even more important. Because of the “firehose” nature of Twitter, in order for ads to stick with a user they have to be very relevant to them. Use interest keywords, geography, gender, and even device to target your users.
  3. Use multimedia. Twitter has evolved from the days of 140 characters and nothing else. Now, the tweets with the most engagement are picture and video tweets, so whenever possible, be sure to include images and if possible, video, in your promoted tweets.
  4. Test multiple messages. One of the best parts of Twitter is how simple it is to craft new ads and test them to see which get the most engagement. Unlike other platforms where there are strict rules about ad format, Twitter is essentially just a short piece of text followed by a piece of media, so try out a bunch of different creatives to see which works best.
  5. Have a hook. In most cases, users on Twitter aren’t there with an intent to buy, so if you’re going to draw them in, you need to offer them something enticing. Using a promotion as part of your Twitter ad is a great way to do that.

Then What?

Then you measure, test and repeat. We’ve just scratched the surface of what’s possible with Twitter ads, but if you start here, you’ll start to see other opportunities open up to you.