twitter advertising

Twitter Advertising Guide

Twitter’s become a big part of our lives.

Tweets now regularly receive news coverage, friendships begin on the platform, and brands are both expected to have an active presence on Twitter and be quick to respond to any messages people send on the platform.

Twitter is no longer optional for most businesses. But even as participation now seems mandatory, getting any real traction on the platform can be a challenge for many businesses.

If you have to spend time on Twitter, how can you make your efforts worth it?

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Why Businesses Should Advertise on Twitter

Twitter has 328 million monthly active users, over half of whom earn more than $50,000 a year. And Twitter claims that over 66% of users have discovered a new small or medium-sized business on Twitter, and 69% have decided to make a purchase because of something they saw while on the site.

In addition to an engaged audience ready to interact with brands, Twitter offers less competition than other online ad platforms. They only have 60,000 advertisers, rather than the 2 million businesses advertising on Facebook and the 4 million on Google.  And possibly because they show fewer ads and the ads fit more seamlessly into the Twitter stream than on other platforms, their ad click-through rates are higher than that of ads on Facebook.

If all of that sounds to you like a good reason to be on Twitter, but you’re still not sure if paid advertising with them is worth it, their paid ads convert at twice the rate of organic tweets.

When you’re sending out a tweet at a time, every message you share is dependent on people seeing it in their busy stream of messages at the moment they’re online. There’s a blink-and-you-miss-it quality to the platform (or more like pay-attention-to-work-instead-for-a-few minutes-and-miss-it).

Paid ads provide more of a guarantee of actually showing up in the feeds you want to be in when your prospects are online. And lead generation cards that you can include as part of your ads make it extremely easy for users to provide you with their contact information. It lowers the barrier to entry so your prospects are that much more likely to take the step of interacting with you.


Types of Twitter Ads

There are three main types of Twitter Ads you can choose to use.

1. Promoted Accounts

twitter ads promoted accountsIf increasing your follower count is an important goal for you, you can use promoted accounts to help.

With these ads, your profile will show up in the list of recommended accounts users see in the top right screen any time they’re on the main Twitter page. Generally, your promoted account will show up alongside other accounts Twitter assumes the user will be interested in based on their other data.

Twitter has found that 85% of people say promoted accounts help them discover new businesses they’re interested in following.

If you want a quick way to grow the number of relevant people who see your organic tweets, promoted accounts will get your account in front of the people you most want to reach.

2. Promoted Tweets

twitter ads promoted tweetsWhen you pull up Twitter, the main place you focus your attention is on the central feed. That makes promoted tweets a particularly valuable advertising option.

These show up in the midst of the other tweets in your feed, making them hard to miss. Twitter users can interact with promoted tweets in the same way they do any other tweet – by liking, replying, or re-tweeting.

A user doesn’t have to be following you already to see your Tweet, so it gives you a chance to reach an audience you would otherwise miss on Twitter. And notably, they aren’t stuck in a moment in time on Twitter’s feed – a person doesn’t miss out on seeing the Tweet if they don’t happen to be on Twitter watching their feed at the moment you publish it.

twitter ads promoted trends3. Promoted Trends

On the left side of the Twitter page, you’ll see a box that includes trending topics for the geographic area a user’s located in.

If you buy a promoted trend ad, your chosen trend will show up in this list with the word “Promoted” next to it.

Users will be able to click on your promoted trend to see what people are saying about it.

If it’s a hashtag, seeing it included in the list of Trends will make people more likely to use it in relevant tweets.


Twitter’s Targeting Options

One of the big benefits of paid advertising on Twitter is being able to target the specific audience you most want to reach in your ads. Twitter offers targeting options that include:

  • Language targeting – Since the platform includes profiles of people around the world, you can make sure your ads just show up for those who speak the primary language you use in the ad.
  • Geography targeting – If your focus is local, or just specific to the United States, you can make sure your ads only show up for the people in the geographic area you serve.
  • Gender targeting – You can narrow your ad focus to users of a particular gender.
  • Interest targeting – Twitter uses data on the interests people commonly tweet about to allow you to focus your ad on those most likely to be interested in your products.
  • Device targeting – If your ad is optimized for one type of device over another, then you can opt just to show your ads to those using that device.
  • Behavior targeting – Twitter tracks user behavior when it comes to things like their shopping and spending patterns. You can target your ads at users most likely to perform certain types of behaviors.
  • Keyword targeting – You can set your ads to show up for people who have recently tweeted or searched for particular terms.
  • Tailored audiences – You can upload your own list of leads or customers in order to create an audience in Twitter for ads meant for people who already have a relationship with your company.

twitter advertising targeting options

There’s no reason for digital marketers to push out ads to people unlikely to care. Twitter’s targeting options make it easy for you to make sure you’re reaching the right people for the ads you create and the products you’re promoting.


How Much Twitter Advertising Costs

You don’t have an infinite budget to work with, so you have to consider cost before committing to Twitter advertising.

For promoted tweets and promoted accounts, Twitter has auction-style pricing and only charges advertisers when users take a desired action, similar to how Google’s pay-per-click advertising is set up.  You can set a maximum budget for your campaigns and choose between automatic bidding (where Twitter’s system makes bids for you) or maximum bidding, where you enter in the amount you’re comfortable paying for a specific action.

You can choose which of the following actions you’re hoping a campaign will produce:

  • Website clicks (for promoted tweets)
  • New Followers (for promoted tweets or promoted accounts)
  • Tweet engagements (for promoted tweets, includes all interactions such as likes, re-tweets, and responses)
  • App installs (for promoted tweets that promote an app)
  • Video views (for promoted tweets with videos, any video viewed 50% in view on the screen for at least 2 seconds counts)
  • Impressions (for promoted tweets for campaigns focused on awareness)

How much you pay will depend on how much the action you choose is achieved.  To give you a general idea of what you can expect, promoted tweets average about $1.35 for each engagement. Promoted accounts will typically cost you somewhere between $2.50-$4 for each new follower.

And promoted trends have their own pricing system that takes into account the much wider exposure they offer. These will normally cost you around $200,000 a day.


Twitter’s Advertising Analytics

Twitter offers useful analytics to all users, so you can learn a lot about how your Twitter presence is faring with your audience even before you start advertising. To those that advertise though, they provide a different set of analytics to measure your ad success rates by.

Your campaign dashboard displays:

  • The number of impressions your ad receives
  • The amount of engagement people had with your ads
  • Information on who interacted with your ads, based on categories like demographics, device type, and geographic location
  • The number of users who took your desired action for the campaign
  • The cost-per-action

Their analytics can help you track how well your ads are performing and easily determine ROI for the amount of budget you’re spending on Twitter advertising.


How to Get Started Advertising on Twitter

If you’re ready to start advertising on Twitter, your first step is to visit their business website and select “Start a Campaign” in the upper right hand corner.

start twitter advertising

The first thing you’ll be asked to do is select the goal of your campaign.

twitter advertising goals

Then set your daily budget and how soon you’d like to start.

twitter ads set budget

Next you’ll see a list of past tweets you can choose from to become the sponsored tweets in your campaign.

twitter ads choose tweets

Set your targeting options.

twitter advertising select targeting

Set your campaign budget.

twitter ads set budget

Review your choices, provide your payment information, and launch!

launch twitter ad


Brands today pretty much have to be on Twitter, but whether or not paid advertising on the channel is right for you will depend on your goals. If you want to make your time on the platform go further and increase the number of followers and amount of engagement you have, then spending a little money can make a big difference. If you do choose to advertise on Twitter, pay close attention to your analytics and test out different techniques. As with any other type of advertising, your efforts will improve if you take time to stop and learn from past results as you go.

Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.

One thought on “Getting Started With Twitter Advertising: A Guide for Businesses

  1. Very clear explanation about promotio on twitter. Posting on facebook and linkedin as well is the best mode for online promotion

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