Why you should use Twitter Ads

Regular users may not find this option necessary. Entrepreneurs wishing to grow their business understand that one needs to spend money to make money. Though other platforms offer advertising options, Twitter has proven to be superior above other social media platforms due to their targeting feature. Other platforms do not provide this kind of accuracy.

In the article, we’ll discuss why most social media managers prefer Twitter, the types of Twitter ads, ad campaigns you can run and how to create an ad.

The stats are impressive

Twitter has proven to be an excellent place for reaching potential new customers and clients. 66 percent of users had discovered small or medium businesses (SMBs) they weren’t aware existed through the platform. In a survey done, 94% percent of users said they plan to purchase a product or service from the SMBs they follow.

This high intent figure is the reason of all social media managers, 63.5 percent state that Twitter is their top Return on Investment (ROI) platform. They also get what they pay for- quite literally. You spend money on specific actions and not on abstract goals. This aspect will be discussed later in the article.

Types of Twitter Ads

One can opt for Promote Tweets, Promoted or Promoted Trends. We’ll expound on the differences below.

Promoted Tweets

These are regular tweets that advertisers pay to have them displayed to people who don’t already follow them. This option allows the company to extend their reach and is typically for content that’s already doing well. Users can retweet, like, respond, etc. as they would any other tweet. Social media managers have the choice of promoting a tweet to a particular demographic. The said tweet will show up on the targeted users’ timeline, in the Twitter mobile app and at the top of search results.

Promoted Accounts

Promoting an account places it in front of the targeted users, allowing you to gain relevant followers. A 2016 study by customer insight sited that 85% of users discovered new businesses on Twitter due to a promotion. A promoted account will appear on potential followers’ timelines, on search results and ‘Who to Follow’ suggestions.

Promoted Trends

Trending topics are keywords or hashtags on Twitter that show what most of the users are talking about. When you push a trend, it appears at the top of the trending hashtags- those that have organically made their way to the list. Once people click on the promoted hashtag and start using it themselves, the reach increases as you continue gaining organic exposure. This ad type is particularly helpful when running a campaign.

Types of ad campaigns

Depending on the kind you’re running and its objective, you can choose a combination of Twitter ad product to achieve your goal. Before listing them, please note that a ‘Card’ refers to high-quality photos, videos or media experiences added to a tweet. They are designed to help drive traffic to your website.

These products are:


For this type of campaign, you pay for followers gained and not impressions or engagements.

Tweet engagements

Here, one promotes a tweet with the aim is to start a conversation around the brand. You only pay for initial engagement commitment of each user. Impressions made by the promoted tweet that lead to no engagement and organic impressions don’t get charged.


If you’ve been on Twitter long enough, you know that impressions are not necessarily a sign of how great a tweet is doing. If there is no interaction- like, retweet, reply and the rest- then the tweet did not achieve its objective. However, when the goal is awareness, this option is the approach to take, but make sure they tweet is compelling enough to elicit a reaction. Of the types of ad campaigns, this is the only one where you pay for impressions in cost per thousand.

Video views

As the name indicates, this option lets you increase the number of users viewing your videos. Once you’ve targeted the ad, you pay per video. Monetization takes place when a user unmutes the footage, views two seconds of playback on the timeline or clicks to watch it on full screen.

Website clicks or conversions

These two campaign ad types are similar in that you get charged per click. A promoted tweet is targeted to users who you’d like to visit your website and take action. You’re also able to include a Website Card that also adds a preview of your site on the tweet. However, with the conversions campaign, conversions are tracked.

App installs or re-engagements

These campaigns target both people who have installed your app but haven’t used it for a while and to potential users who’d end up installing your app. Depending on the goal; you can pay for app opens or installations. You get to include an App card with a preview image of the app and ratings as well as getting a user to open or install in one click instead of redirecting them to the app store.

Lead generation

With this campaign, you use Lead Generation Cards to collect and pay per lead accumulated. Cards generated on the Twitter ads manager allow users to share contact information within the platform. The data is downloadable via your ads account.

How to create an ad

Set up

The various types of ads and campaigns highlighted should help provide a clear understanding of what would successfully meet your objectives. Once you’ve selected one or a mix, the next step is to set up an account. The Twitter Ads Manager displays the various campaign ads mentioned for you to pick. Proceed to create the campaign. You have the option of starting it immediately or later. There’s also the option of tracking via the platform or third-party applications.

Choosing your audience

Choosing the right audience is easy, and it allows you to get the most out of what you’d like to spend. The demographic opinions are geographical, language, gender, platform, device, behavior, occupation and specific keywords only to mention a few. You can also add an existing list or keyword specific to your current audience.

With each, Twitter shows you the audience size. That requires an understanding of your target audience to avoid wasting time and money on your campaign efforts. As you narrow down who you’d like to target, you’ll note that the audience size changes.


The next step is to set your budget. A budget should back an excellent social media marketing strategy. The welcome thing about Twitter ads, and other most online platforms for that matter, is they allow you to set the amount you’d like to use. With more traditional methods of advertising, the advertisers offer fixed rates that clients have to adhere to. You’re also unable to monitor the effectiveness of your campaign, for example, how many ‘impressions’ it had. Feedback is also not instant, and one has to rely on calls from potential customers or clients to generate a lead.

With Twitter, you can set a maximum daily budget depending on your total budget. That way you’re able to control your spending, and depending on your ROI, you can increase or decrease how much you’re using. The platform also shows the billing, whether it’s through impression or engagement. It also presents you with recommended bids and suggestions of what other companies with a similar campaign have spent.

Create the tweet

If you want to promote an existing tweet that performed well, you can do so. There is otherwise the option of creating an engaging tweet. A basic tweet highlights the value proposition/ your unique selling point. It should answer the question ‘why should I bother clicking?’ It is by tooting your own horn and doing it accurately and to perfection, is what will attract audience attention. If you have well-known clients, endorsements, personality or anything of that kind, mention them to increase credibility.

That said the tweet needs to be consistent with your brand. Other aspects the company’s online presence needs to be equally impressive. Your social media profiles should be branded and with accurate profiles. If you’re sending traffic to your website, ensure that it meets the standards of a good site. The tone and style of what you promote, whether text, an image or video, should also be consistent with your other online mediums.

Have a clear call to action

With every promotion or campaign, the tweet needs to answer the question ‘so what?’ Your value proposition may attract a person, but the need to know what to do with that information. That is known as ‘a call to action.’ Should the user click on a link, subscribe, buy, apply, install or retweet? Whatever the case, clearly indicate in the tweet what action you’d like them to take.

A simple yet effective call to action is to follow. By asking users to follow, the following increases by 258 percent. Another call to action is retweeting, which increase the rate by 311 percent. The key is to have one ask and a limited number of hashtags so as not to distract the user from the primary objective.

Add cards

We’re currently in an age where visuals are taking over words. Most written content across online and offline media have a photo, video, or any other visual accompanying it. Internal data by Twitter shows that a card will increase engagement by 43% as compared to a regular tweet with a link. Can you say it in an image or a motion picture? Thought this might require an additional budget, given the improved chances of a high ROI, it could be worth the investment.

With Twitter Ads Manager, you’re able to get the right card for each audience. Let say you run an auto accident attorney firm and want to target all age groups. Messaging for each age bracket may not convert well- a teenager with their first car would not necessarily relate to a tweet or card tailored for someone in their late sixties. You can set each promotion or campaign to run concurrently.

Take it for a test drive

If you’re familiar with the A/B testing with Mailchimp, if it’s your first time using Twitter ads, you’d be happy to know this handy tool is also available.

Does it meet Twitter standards?

Twitter ads are a great way to learn what resonates with your audience—from ad format to length of copy and tone of voice. Since testing is such an important topic, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to A/B testing on the platform.

As a rule of thumb, ensure that your visuals are of top-notch quality since they’re what grab’s the users’ attention. An often ignored rule that also applies on Facebook is not using too much text on your visuals. Without reading the tweet, the user should have a general idea what your company or campaign is about. They should also be of a certain size or dimension; Twitter specifies them for you.

What’s the payoff?

With Twitter ads, you only pay for what you get. Following the recommended steps to get that winning tweet will produce more results than standard advertising methods. The depth in which you can select your audience increases the effectiveness of your advertisement on this social media channel. The stats support these claims.

Twitter ads, however, is not the answer to all your online advertising needs. Twitter has a much smaller user base than Facebook with 330 million compared to the 2 billion plus users on the latter site. When running ads, you only reach users on the platforms, and just activate ones at that. That should however not discourage you. If you’re serious about increasing your online presence, ignoring Twitter could affect your ROI bottom line especially if you have an organic following or engagement on your account.

The end goal may be to make money, but the basis should be to create and foster relationships with users. It is about understanding their needs and wants and tailoring content that benefits them and contributes to the growth of your company too.

By Kar

Dr. Kar works in the interface of digital transformation and data science. Professionally a professor in one of the top B-Schools of Asia and an alumni of XLRI, he has extensive experience in teaching, training, consultancy and research in reputed institutes. He is a regular contributor of Business Fundas and a frequent author in research platforms. He is widely cited as a researcher. Note: The articles authored in this blog are his personal views and does not reflect that of his affiliations.