This Twitter advertising guide will teach you how to create and optimize successful Twitter ads—from setting up an account to creating your first campaign.
With hundreds of millions of Tweets sent each day — and an ever-changing Twitter algorithm — it can be easy for your brand’s posts and Twitter marketing to get lost in the noise. That’s where Twitter ads come in.
Twitter advertising is an opportunity for your brand to promote its products and reach new users who might be interested in what your brand offers.
Considering there are many ultra-simple Twitter ad formats and no minimum advertising budget, now is a great time to consider running your first Twitter ad.
In this guide, you’ll learn about the different types of Twitter ads, how to create your first-ever campaign, and tips to remember when creating your Twitter ads.
Bonus: Download the free 30-day plan to grow your Twitter following fast, a daily workbook that will help you establish a Twitter marketing routine and track your growth, so you can show your boss real results after one month.
Types of Twitter ads
There are several types of Twitter ads to choose from to help your brand’s goals and fit your social media marketing strategy.
Promoted Tweets look a lot like regular Tweets. What’s different is that an advertiser is paying to display the content to people who are not already following that advertiser on Twitter.
Like ordinary Tweets, they can be liked, retweeted and commented on. But they are labelled as an ad: they will always say “Promoted” in the lower left-hand corner.
Promoted Tweets can also contain video and will autoplay in users’ timelines. If the video is less than 60 seconds, then the video loops.
Promoted Tweets, like this example from Subway, appear in targeted users’ timelines, on user profiles, at the top of search results and in the Twitter mobile and desktop apps.
Instead of promoting just one Tweet, this type of Twitter ad allows you to promote your brand’s entire Twitter account. It targets users who don’t already follow your brand and can help grow your business’s Twitter following.
Promoted Accounts are displayed in potential followers’ timelines. The ad will also show in the Who to Follow suggestions and in search results.
As well as being labelled to show that they are ‘Promoted,’ they also include a Follow button.
Source: Twitter for Business
Twitter’s trending topics is a high-turnover list on Twitter’s right-hand side. This is a collection of the most popular topics and hashtags being used in real time.
Users can interact with a Promoted Trend in the same way they’d interact with any other trending topic. What’s different is that the spot a brand purchases will display as ‘Promoted’ for targeted users.
A Promoted Trend will also show as one of the first spots under the “Trends for you” section, both in the Explore tab and in the timeline.
When users click on the Promoted Trend, they will see search results for that topic with a promoted Tweet from your brand at the top.
Source: Twitter for Business
In January 2020, Twitter took this ad format one step further. It introduced Promoted Trend Spotlight. Like this example from Disney+, this ad format complements Promoted Trends by supporting video and GIFS, as well as static images.
These ads appear at the top of the Explore tab for two visits per person, per day. It then moves to the standard Promoted Trend placement. Currently, this ad format is available in 15 countries.
Think of Promoted Moments as Twitter story ads. Twitter Moments can be created on desktop, and are basically a curated collection of similar Tweets that tell a story. This format means your brand can also share Twitter story ads that are longer than 280 characters.
Brands can also sponsor Moments created by other brands.
If you’re new to Twitter advertising, not sure how much to spend, or have a very small team with limited time, consider trying Twitter Promote Mode.
Your brand Tweets as it usually would, then Twitter Promote Mode automatically promotes your Tweets and your brand’s profile.
Twitter calls Twitter Promote Mode an “always on advertising solution.” Basically, the first 10 Tweets your brand creates each day are added to a Promoted Tweets campaign and your selected audience is targeted. Twitter Promote Mode also runs a Promoted Account campaign.
Think of this feature as Twitter helping you with your Twitter ads. Your brand doesn’t need to put in the work to set up new, individual ad campaigns.
It costs a flat rate of USD$99 per month, and on average, your Tweets will reach an additional 30,000 people.
How to advertise on Twitter: A 7-step guide
1. Set up your Twitter ads account
If you’ve never used Twitter ads before, you’ll need to set up an account. Just log into your Twitter account, then head to ads.Twitter.com. Enter your country and time zone, then click Let’s go.
This gives you access to Twitter Ads Manager and its many features, like tracking your advertising campaigns and analyzing metrics.
2. Choose your advertising objective
Decide what you want to achieve with your Twitter ads. The campaign objective you choose determines which engagement types and actions you’ll pay for.
You can choose from the following objectives:
- Reach: You want the maximum number of people to see your Promoted Tweet. You’re billed per 1,000 impressions.
- In-stream video views: You want to run a short video ad at the start of videos from Twitter’s premium content partners. You’re billed for each video view.
- Video views: You want people to watch your videos or GIFs. You’re billed for each video view.
- App installs: You want people to install your app. You’re billed for each app install.
- Website clicks or conversions: You want people to go to your website. You’re billed per click.
- Engagements: You want to maximize engagement with your Promoted Tweets. You’re billed per engagement, but only on the initial engagement with each user.
- Followers: You want to build your Twitter audience. You’re billed for each new follower.
- App re-engagements: You want people who already have your app to open and use it. You’re billed for each app click.
For this example, we will be walking through a campaign to increase followers and build an audience for your account.
After clicking on the ‘Followers’ objective, this will take you to the ‘Campaign set up’ screen. Here, name your campaign, choose how to pay for it, set your campaign budget, and choose whether to start the campaign right away or schedule it for later.
How much do Twitter ads cost?
It’s up to you. There’s no minimum budget to advertise on Twitter, so Twitter ads cost as much or as little as you like.
The budget you set on this screen is the total amount you’re willing to pay.
Once you’ve made your selections, click Next.
3. Set up your ad group and bidding
Now you’re on the ‘Ad group setup’ page.
For your first Twitter ads campaign, you’ll probably want to stick to one ad group. But as you get more comfortable with Twitter ads, split up your campaign into categories to target different audiences, use different creative, or test different budgets and timing.
Name your ad group and select a start and end time if you’d like.
Here, you will also choose how much you’re willing to pay for each interaction. If you choose automatic bidding, Twitter will set your bid to get the best results at the lowest price based on your budget. This is a great way to start if you’re brand new to Twitter advertising and want to get a good grasp on how bidding works.
4. Target your audience
The targeting options help you choose the right audience for your ad and maximize your budget.
You’ll start with demographic targeting. Define your audience by gender, age, location, language and technology.
With location targeting, you can get as specific as a particular metro area or even postal code. Or you can be broad and target a whole country. The technology component allows you to target by device, carrier or OS version.
The ‘Audience features’ section allows you to target your ad to users based on specific interests like events, interests, and behaviors, and even the specific keywords and TV shows users Tweet about.
To help guide you, the interface provides an estimated audience size summary that changes as you add more targeting options to your campaign.
You can also choose to upload your own list of people (such as your email list), or choose to target people who are similar to your follower base.
When you’re happy with your choices, click Next.
5. Choose ad placement
On the right side of the screen, you’ll choose where you want your ad to display.
Once you’ve made your selection, click Next.
6. Launch your campaign
Finally, review all the options you’ve selected. Click Launch campaign to launch your ad.
And that’s it!
In a rush?
Try Twitter Quick Promote. If you don’t want to get into detailed targeting for your ad, this lets you promote a Tweet in just two clicks.
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8 tips to help your brand with its Twitter advertising
Now that you know how to set up a Twitter advertising campaign, here are some tips to make sure your Twitter marketing campaign gets results.
Make your brand and business clear
Chances are, you’ll be targeting Twitter users who don’t already follow your brand. So, make it obvious what your business is all about through the imagery or video you include, and the copy you write.
Since users may click from your ad through to your Twitter profile, make sure that your Twitter bio and profile are in great shape. That might help them decide to follow you and engage with your brand’s social media posts.
And while we’re on the topic, it’s also a great idea to get verified on Twitter so users know they can trust your brand.
Bonus: Download the free 30-day plan to grow your Twitter following fast, a daily workbook that will help you establish a Twitter marketing routine and track your growth, so you can show your boss real results after one month.Get the free guide right now!
Write concise, engaging copy
Just because you can use 280 characters doesn’t mean you have to use all 280 characters in your ad. Users scroll through Twitter quickly, so make sure your ad gets to the point — fast.
For example, LEGO used a limited amount of copy for its 2019 #RebuildTheWorld campaign. The brand used only two words, an emoji and a branded video to tease the campaign release:
Coming soon 👀 pic.twitter.com/z26IRU6H3V
— LEGO (@LEGO_Group) September 15, 2019
And for launch, its ad copy was just as concise but equally compelling:
— LEGO (@LEGO_Group) September 17, 2019
LEGO promoted its concise ads using Promoted Trends and Promoted Trend Spotlight. Using those ad formats, along with creative and to-the-point copy, resulted in its #RebuiltTheWorld hashtag being used almost 100,000 times in the first four days.
However, for smaller brands that aren’t quite as well-known, a little more copy that provides brand clarity can be effective.
To avoid wasting valuable Twitter characters and to ensure the CTA is still eye-catching, incorporate a shortened vanity URL. Your brand can use Hootsuite to create a shortened URL with a stronger, branded impact to place on your Twitter ads. Here’s how to do this:
Include a clear call to action
Don’t leave your audience wondering. Great ads work because of a straight forward call to action.
Whether you’re hoping for new social media followers, click-throughs to a specific landing page or more downloads of your app, make that clear to your audience.
For example, DIRTT, an interior design services company, explains in one sentence what the company does, which industry it can support and provides a CTA, encouraging interested users to click on the provided link.
It also includes an image that reflects the ad’s messaging and incorporates the business’s logo.
Running a sale? Include the percentage
Twitter’s own research shows that people are more likely to click on an ad that mentions a percentage discount rather than one that mentions a specific dollar savings.
The clothing company Kit and Ace did just that in January 2020:
So one of your goals this year is to make smart financial decisions and budget better? Our after party sale is ending soon—don't miss out on our final markdowns up to 60% off to invest wisely in a quality wardrobe that lasts. pic.twitter.com/a5giLU1Qw3
— Kit and Ace (@kitandace) January 20, 2020
Use high-quality images and video
A blurry, mis-sized image or a grainy video won’t help your Twitter advertising strategy. Make sure you’re following Twitter’s creative ad specs so every image and video is sharp, compelling and attention-grabbing.
Also make sure everything you include is directly related to the ad. For example, if you’re trying to sell a product, include an image or video of that product:
— PANDORA_NA (@PANDORA_NA) March 20, 2020
Pay attention to big events
Big events draw people to Twitter. That’s something Wendy’s took advantage of in 2019 during March Madness.
As an official corporate sponsor of the basketball tournament, Wendy’s incorporated the month-long sporting event into its Twitter ads:
This dream team always wins. Get the Made to Crave cheeseburgers delivered with DoorDash today. pic.twitter.com/dCNEmdktRV
— Wendy's (@Wendys) March 21, 2019
It’s no biggie if your bracket’s busted. You can still win with the new Biggie Bag which includes a Bacon Double Stack, nuggets, fries and a drink for just $5. Now that’s a score. Delivery available with DoorDash. pic.twitter.com/N4DkQTnOEp
— Wendy's (@Wendys) March 26, 2019
Analyze, test, and test again
Get inspired by the ads your competitors create and run a competitive analysis.
When you begin running Twitter ads, don’t stick with the same format time and time again. Incorporate A/B testing and see how changing your Twitter ads slightly can alter engagement.
For example, changing the language of the call to action, switching up the image you’ve used or altering the tone of the copy could impact how effective your Twitter ad is with your targeted audience.
Here, Twitter tests the effect of using different images in its ads:
Soure: Twitter for Business
Learn from your organic Tweets
Finally, don’t ignore what’s working well with your organic Tweets! Monitor how your organic Tweets are performing using Twitter analytics, and apply what’s working well with those Tweets to your Twitter advertising.
Use Hootsuite to manage your Twitter presence alongside all your other social media activity. From a single dashboard you can grow your followers, schedule tweets, and analyze your performance. Try it free today.