social media how to Are you interested in learning more about advertising on Twitter?

Have you followed the latest on Twitter ads?

Twitter has many paid options to help you gain more exposure.

Keep reading to discover three ways to use Twitter ads to grow your business.

Why Twitter Advertising?

When Twitter released their advertising platforms, there was a huge lack of functionality when it came to targeting your ads toward specific audiences.

While it’s still not as detailed as Facebook or LinkedIn advertising, Twitter has come a long way in making sure your advertising reaches the right audience.

In this post, we’re going to look at how to create a high-performance Twitter ad campaign for your business.

#1: Gain Visibility With Promoted Tweets

One of the most popular uses of Twitter advertising is to promote a specific message (tweet) on Twitter. For example, if you search Twitter for a particular keyword, you’re likely to see a promoted tweet at the top of search results.


Example of a promoted tweet from Buffer.

This can be a great way to get a specific message about your products and services at the top of your potential customers’ Twitter feed. It can also be used to promote engaging content created by your business to boost authority in your industry.

To promote a tweet, you need to go to the Twitter advertising section and sign in with your usual Twitter username and password. If it’s your first time there, you’ll be asked to select your country and time zone.

Twitter advertising is currently available in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Ireland. For those who have used Twitter advertising before, you can click the New Campaign button to start a new advertising campaign.

National brands and advertising agencies in 18 other countries including Australia, Brazil, France and Italy can fill out a form to speak with an advertising specialist.

Next, choose New Promoted Tweets Campaign. Then you’ll answer a series of setup questions about your campaign, starting with the campaign name and duration.


Give your campaign a name and duration.

Next, fill out your targeting options. You can choose to target users based on keywords that users search or tweet about, television programming they engage with (such as people who tweet about the top-tweeted show, Scandal) and interests. Interest-based targeting allows you to target people similar to the followers of any Twitter username you enter, meaning you could target ads toward your competitor’s followers.


Using the keyword targeting option.

Note that of these three options—keywords, television and interests—only keyword ad targeting allows your tweet to appear in search results when someone searches for a particular keyword. Other ad targeting options will only show on users’ timelines.

In addition to the above targeting options, you can target your ads toward people in specific locations down to a city/metro level within the United States. You can also target by user device and gender.

Once your targeting is set, you can choose to manually select the tweets you want to promote or allow Twitter to choose the five most engaging recent tweets. If you are trying to achieve specific goals, such as advertising your latest product launch, it’s best to compose a custom tweet about the launch using the Promote a New Tweet option.


Manual vs. automatic tweet selection.

Finally, set your total budget, daily maximum and maximum bid amount per engagement. While you can choose to bid lower than the amount suggested by Twitter, you may lose out on exposure if someone outbids you on the same targeting options.


Budget setup for your promoted tweets campaign.

If you’re new to Twitter advertising, you’ll need to enter a method of payment. Otherwise, save your campaign, which will go live upon approval by the Twitter advertising team.

#2: Grow Followers With Promoted Accounts

The next thing you can do with Twitter advertising is grow your followers with promoted accounts. You can see promoted accounts in various areas across Twitter, such as in the Who to Follow box in the left-hand sidebar.


Example of a promoted account.

This is a great way to increase the targeted followers of your Twitter account quickly, especially if you are new to Twitter or simply want to expand your audience.

The setup for promoted accounts is similar to the process for promoted tweets. Targeting options are limited to reaching users who are similar to a particular Twitter user’s followers (such as your competitor’s) and reaching users with specific interest categories.


Promoted account targeting options.

You can also choose a tweet from your account that will be shown on mobile devices next to the suggestion to follow you. The tweet should be something that gives your potential new follower a reason to follow your account.


Share a tweet next to your promoted account on mobile.

The budgeting options are also similar—you set a total budget, daily maximum and bid per follower. Suggested bid amounts vary based on the targeting options you set, but can range from $2 to $3 per follower. This is why you have to be extremely picky about your targeting so you only pay for followers who are good for your business.

#3: Increase Leads With Lead Generation Cards

The best addition to Twitter advertising is lead generation cards. These are tweets that allow businesses to collect names and emails of potential leads for their business or mailing list subscribers directly on Twitter. You can see how it works by clicking on the link in this tweet from ExactTarget.

Tip Tuesday: 140 Mobile Marketing Tips all in 140 Characters or Less:

— ExactTarget (@ExactTarget) December 17, 2013

You can find out how to set up lead generation cards in this post by John Bonini. It’s a great way to really get tangible, measurable ROI from your Twitter advertising.

Twitter Advertising Tips

To get the most out of any Twitter advertising campaign, be sure to use these three tips.

  • Target your ad campaigns precisely. With bid amounts between $1.50 for promoted tweet engagements and $3 per follower, it pays to have a smaller but targeted reach.
  • Use UTM parameters for any links shared in promoted tweets. These are tags that you add to a target URL in your tweet that will identify visitors who click on that specific link in Google Analytics using the parameters you set. With UTM parameters, you’re able to isolate traffic that clicked specifically on that promoted tweet. Use the Google Analytics URL Builder to easily craft your UTM parameters, and find the data for your campaigns under Acquisitions > Campaigns in Google Analytics.
  • Set up conversion tracking within the Twitter advertising dashboard as another way to measure your ROI for Twitter advertising campaigns. You can find it by clicking on the Conversion Tracking link in the menu bar of your Twitter advertising dashboard.

Over to You

As you can see, Twitter now gives you more options to reach your audience and helps you to create the Twitter ad campaigns you need for your business.

What do you think? What have your results been using the new Twitter advertising targeting and lead generation options? Please share in the comments!

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  • Thanks Kristi for this insightful post about “How to Use Twitter Ads for More Exposure, Leads and Sales.” I see the BIG win in advertising is in getting people to take action. To me there’s an huge difference between action and awareness. Putting a twitter ad in the world for awareness is useless if it doesn’t lead to taking action.

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  • Kristi, I remember the first time I played with Twitter advertising a while back now.

    I remember sucking up my money without it really doing anything.

    I was also a dumb beginner who didn’t properly optimize my Twitter ad.

    Do you think they overprice their advertising options?

    You think Facebook advertising trumps Twitter’s at the current moment?

    Thank you for sharing.

    – Samuel

  • Great tips as usual Kristi. I like how Twitter advertising is a lot easier for small businesses to setup and then be able to dissect what is and is not working.

  • AmandahBlackwell

    I keep receiving emails and free $50.00 or $100.00 for Twitter advertising, but I haven’t taken advantage of the freebies, yet. I tried LinkedIn ads and haven’t had any success so I’m holding off, for now.

  • BMilneSLO

    Good post Kristi. I’ve been thinking about using Twitter ads, but just haven’t been sure about how well they convert … similar to Facebook ads, given most folks are on social media to be, well, social, not to be sold to. Then again, you never know until you try, so I’m going to give this a go now. Thanks!

  • Twitter advertising works pretty well. Just make sure the content you’re promoting is good content.

  • Very true Patrick! It really depends on your goals – I do know some companies that just want to get their name all over everything. Personally, when I create an ad, I want to make it really count by making it lead to a conversion. Those really make the case for ROI.

  • I don’t think Twitter is overpriced, persay, but it takes a fraction of the time to go through a Twitter ad budget than a Facebook ad budget. I think that’s primarily because of the targeting – you can run an ad on Facebook forever if it’s only showing to 2,000 people in your target audience. That’s why I always suggest people get uber targeted – it’s better to show your ad to five people who are qualified customers than thousands who aren’t.

  • Thanks Christian! 🙂

  • It never hurts to take advantage of the coupon – just limit your budget to not go over that. Maybe try it to get a few extra followers?

  • Out of the four social ad platform I’ve used (Facebook, StumbleUpon, Twitter, and LinkedIn), I’ve gotten conversions from all but StumbleUpon. The latter is mostly a traffic generator if your only goal is traffic. LinkedIn did really well in driving leads to my freelance writing business, and Facebook / Twitter did well in driving sales to my blogging course. I hyper-target though – I’d rather get a small amount of exposure and up the conversion rate than pay for a large amount of exposure and low conversion rate.

  • Excellent post Kristi. Twitter lead card campaigns look like a great way to generate contacts/leads/ROI. The ExactTarget campaign is a great example to illustrate the concept. Thanks for the link to John’s post on how to set up a Twitter lead card campaign. Happy New Year!

  • Thanks Rick! Happy New Year to you too!

  • I still see big brands who never have a call-to-action on their ad. Even if it’s to Like us, Tweet us, visit our website, subscribe to this, share this, phone us, email us, watch this demo, leave a comment, listen or read our testimonials, etc.

    I guess I see the asset of the future being permission. Having the ability to communicate with someone tomorrow.

  • No, I definitely agree. I’m not much for exposure advertising, and I always suggest businesses that don’t have oodles to throw in the advertising budget to make sure they are getting something concrete out of their ads – at the very least, an email opt-in. Getting in someone’s inbox is way more valuable than maybe being seen in their Twitter feed.

  • Greg Narayan

    Great summary and strategies, Kristi!

  • VERY helpful info Kristi! I can see why planning your ads accurately to really
    maximize your money spent is important. Thank you for walking us through
    the process!

  • VERY helpful info Kristi! I can see why planning your ads accurately to really
    maximize your money spent is important. Thank you for walking us through
    the process!

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  • Lisa Ullery

    I had the same issue with Twitter ads when I first tested them out; however, I don’t think it would hurt to try them out again…like Kristi said, Twitter advertising has come a long way!

  • Betsey

    EXCELLENT post, Kristi, thank you! Twitter advertising feels a little bit like the great unknown for me, so it’s very helpful to have this sheet to refer to going forward. I especially like the new Twitter lead generation cards; I’ve only seen one in action in my Twitter feed so far, and it’s great to have a little primer on how to accomplish them. Thanks again!

  • Grant Perry

    Thanks Kristi. Delighted to see conversion tracking now available. I’m sure when I last set up a campaign (around November) it wasn’t an option, but perhaps I just missed it.

    I’m a direct response marketer and have had tremendous success with Facebook advertising over the last couple of years but my limited Twitter advertising has proved worthless. It’s far too expensive per action and the conversions just don’t seem to be there like they are with FB and other traditional ppc (Adwords, Bing etc). I feel it will have to get more competitive and the targeting options better so I’ll keep a small toe in until the water gets a bit warmer…

  • Lance Rubin

    Hello Kristi, As a fine artist, I am not afraid to get out there and make my “brand” known unlike many other artists. For the past few years, I have been using Facebook advertising, and have had a lot of success with it. But that depends on how you define success though. In terms of getting “likes” I am now at 16k followers, which in the grand scheme of things (that is, in comparison to other artists out there) is really great! My ad budget with Facebook has been very modest (set to $2-5 per day), but has brought the great results I mentioned. In spending $2-5 per day I have sometimes racked in excess of 350 likes in one single day (which seemed to be an anomoly, actually). But here is where I am having an issue with getting started with Twitter…

    Are they saying that $2-3 PER FOLLOWER (recommended) is going to be good for me? I mean, even though I have generated 16k likes on Facebook, none of those have generated a sale (mainly because I am not even in any gallery yet). But here’s the thing: if 16k followers on Facebook costed me (I am estimating here) say $450, would getting 16k followers on Twitter cost me $32,000- 48,000? I dunno… the math seems to be pretty straight forward here. Recommended budget of $2-3 per follower with a goal (by goal, I mean the goal of comparing Twitter to Facebook) of 16k followers, and …well… those seem to be the real numbers.

    If that’s what’s going on here, then I can easily say that Twitter is an absolute no-go for me. Actually, even if I were Coca Cola or some heavy hitter, I would think twice before spending that kind of money for just a follower (not a conversion). I’m hoping I have read this whole thing wrong and that I don’t understand what’s going on. Because if that is correct, I just don’t see that as being remotely worth it for any business much less mine.

    Thanks, Lance Rubin

  • Alexey Gutin

    Thanks Kristi. I had a question about tracking with Google Analytics. If we add utm_source , then all clicks to a promoted tweet will be marked as coming from promoted. But what if someone clicks on that link from my account and it’s not a paid click. Can we differentiate somehow?

  • Lester Clarke

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge, this article has definitely improved my social media marketing!

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  • thanks for your article this will be very helpfull. great job