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An Introduction To Twitter Ads

Updated: May 28

If you’re running Facebook and Instagram ads, you may feel like you’re set when it comes to paid social. But if you haven’t even thought about adding Twitter ads into the mix, you may be missing out.

In fact, Twitter user numbers — and its engagement rates — are growing. Whether you’re already aboard the Twitter Ads campaign train or just want to know more, let’s dive into the info you need to succeed on Twitter in 2021.


What Are Twitter Ads?

Twitter Ads are paid tweets featuring text or multimedia. They show up on the Twitter platform as Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts, and Promoted Trends via desktop or on the mobile app.

You can usually interact with these tweets the same way you would an organic tweet (such as responding, retweeting, or liking), but they’ll be marked as “promoted.”


Types Of Twitter Ads

Twitter offers objective-based campaigns, in which brands only pay for the actions that align with their goals and expand their reach. Those goals are often to gain:

  • New followers

  • Website clicks or conversions

  • App installations or engagements

  • Tweet engagements (retweets, favorites, replies, etc.)

  • Video views


For the most part, website click campaigns are the most effective for retailers. With this option, Twitter users can follow your brand from a promoted post/ad as well as immediately click through back to your site.


Ad Targeting Options

With the precision of Twitter ad targeting, the possibilities are endless. There are many combinations to test to determine a qualified target audience.

Through segmenting and testing data, you can get more granular with your targeting on Twitter. Here are some example:

Keyword targeting

Twitter is a platform where people are constantly expressing their thoughts, opinions, wants, and needs. Twitter ad targeting gives you the option to target based on recently tweeted phrases or recently searched items, getting you in front of people when it matters the most. This method requires a preconceived approach to forming your target audience, but it’s an ideal option for reaching your audience when you are most relevant to them.

Best practices:

  • Review the analytics from your campaigns after the first week. What is working and what isn’t? Which keywords receive more engagement? Add similar keywords to your high-performing terms.

  • Twitter is all about timing. Establish times when your keyword will resonate with your audience the most.

Follower targeting

Follower targeting lets you target followers of relevant accounts. These are people who are likely to share similar interests to your business because they already follow brands similar to yours. By choosing to target the followers of similar Twitter accounts, Twitter will automatically create an audience based on the interests of those followers.

This means that you must analyze who your competitors, influencers, and similar audiences are. You might also consider targeting followers of industry news accounts.

Best practices:

  • Utilize search.twitter.com to find industry influencers worth targeting.

  • Don’t always target accounts with millions of followers. Target the accounts with the most relevant following to your brand.

  • To start, focus on 30 usernames per campaign and make sure your potential reach is at least 50,000 followers.

  • Measure ongoing performance through the Twitter Ad Manager and refine your target audience as needed.

Interest targeting

An important Twitter ad targeting option is the use of interests. Brands can target people based on broad or specific interests that run parallel to their business. There are 25 interest categories to choose from that extend into 350 sub-categories.

Twitter recommends that each campaign will have no more than 10 sub-topic interests. If you want to refine a selected audience for a campaign, it’s best to monitor what’s working and what isn’t and adjust your interest selections as needed.

Best practices:

  • Twitter’s interests are broad, so focus on the variety of sub-interests available to narrow your ad target.

  • If you feel more categories meet your campaign, split test the categories to determine optimal performance.


Gender & age targeting

While Twitter doesn’t ask its users for their gender, it does read into signals for gender-based ad targeting. It’s not perfect, but for example, if your audience consists of mostly women, Twitter gives you the option to target these gender specifics. Twitter has found their public signals for gender targeting is more than 90 percent accurate.

You have the option to target men, women or any gender, as well as all ages or specify an age range.

Best practices:

  • Gender and age targeting are not typically used as standalone targets. Combine this method with other targeting options, such as location, interest, or device targeting to refine your audience.

  • Rather than assuming what is going to work, run separate campaigns for each gender to test campaign performance.

Location targeting

To get more granular with your targeting, you have the option to target based on country, city, or zip code. Location targeting, or geo-targeting, allows you to get more specific with your reach. For example, if you serve multiple locations and only want to appear to users in those areas, this option helps you maintain relevance in those places.

Find the complete list of countries available to target here.

Best practices:

  • If you choose not to target a location, your Promoted Tweets will be shown globally. Utilize this feature to focus on more relevant users.

  • Use landing pages specific to locations you are targeting.

  • Take advantage of events that happen at specific locations, for example, where a major sporting event takes place.

Device targeting

Device targeting on Twitter gives advertisers multiple targeting abilities:

  • Operating system

  • Type of device

  • Wi-Fi connectivity

  • Type of mobile carrier

  • New device

Why would these matter? Each one has a specific use. For example, users on new devices are more likely to have an interest in new apps or services. Additionally, Android and iOS users might behave differently or have different interests.

Best practices:

  • Segment your campaigns between different devices and identify what performs better.

  • Make sure your website and landing page are responsive to mobile devices.


The Takeaway

Twitter Ads can be a successful paid social avenue for a variety of brands and industries. These ad types give you an avenue for reaching your ideal client persona in a seamless, creative way.

Plus, with ever-changing social media trends, this is also an opportunity for you to have fun and create eye-catching, witty ads that garner double-takes. By keeping tabs on the latest developments, trends, and offerings, you can continue to improve your Twitter campaigns — and increase ROI as a result.


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