Since the creation of Twitter in 2006, the social network has accumulated an audience of over 302 million monthly active users, which presents a massive opportunity for marketers. With so many people frequenting the social network, there’s a very great chance some of them are interested in what your business has to offer. The only thing standing between you and tons of qualified ad impressions is learning the ropes of paid Twitter advertising.
This guide will cover everything you need to know to get you set up on Twitter advertising and will walk through some of the decisions you’ll need to make when creating your first campaign.
1. Create a Twitter Profile for Your Business
First and foremost, you’ll need to have a Twitter account in order to advertise on the network. You can get away with using a personal account, which works if you’re advertising yourself, but you should definitely consider creating a Twitter account for your business. There’s no real difference between a Twitter account for a business and for a person, but you’ll want one specifically for your business so you can personalize it. Be sure to fill out these five fields.
You’ll want to create something on the shorter side, because when customers reach out to you your handle will count toward their 140 character limit. But also make sure that it’s similar enough to your brand name so customers recognize it.
You should choose something that makes it easy for your customers to recognize the Twitter Profile belongs to your company. A few popular choices are logos or images of individuals with a logo watermark. The recommended size for your profile photo is 400x400px.
Your bio is your 160-character elevator pitch to those who come across your company’s profile. Make sure that you convey the value of what you can do for your customers. Try using Kissmetric’s “So What Test” to audit the copy of your bio.
This is your chance to link your customers to the webpage you want them to visit. You can also add link tracking tags to analyze how site visitors from Twitter perform on your page.
Your header image—which lives at the top of your Twitter Profile—is your chance to include a much larger image. The recommended size for your header image is 1500×500.
2. Attach Your Twitter Profile to an Ads Account
Once you’ve createed your business profile, go to the Twitter Ads login page and sign in with your account. You’ll be redirected to a screen which asks for your location information for tax purposes.
After you’ve answered the questions above, Twitter guides you through creating your first campaign, starting with selecting a campaign objective.
3. Choose a Twitter Campaign Type
Whenever you create a new campaign on Twitter you’ll have to choose a campaign type.
There are several different campaign types you can choose from, and you should choose one based on your paid Twitter objectives.
- Website clicks or conversions (best for driving traffic to your pages)
- Tweet engagements
- App installs or engagements
- Leads on Twitter
If you’re just starting on Twitter, or if you’re looking to boost your follower count, this is the best campaign type for you. Follower campaigns promote your Twitter Profile to your target audience and encourage those users to follow your page.
If you don’t include a Tweet in these campaigns, then your ads will appear in the “Who to follow” section of a Twitter user’s homepage. If you do decide to include a Tweet in your advertisement, then your Twitter Profile will appear in the user’s stream.
Website Clicks or Conversions
If you’re looking for immediate traffic and goal conversions, this is the best campaign type for you. Twitter serves the ads you create to the people it deems the most likely to click your post, purchase your product or complete a different goal on your website. These ads appear in a target’s Twitter feed and Twitter search results pages.
If you want to keep your community engaged with your content, or want to effectively reach a new audience, this is the objective that you should choose. Twitter serves your ads to the users it thinks are most likely to reply, Favorite or Retweet your content. This keeps your current followers engaged with your brand while also boosting your reach to their follower bases.
App Installs or Engagements
This is the ad type to use if you want to get your target audience to download your application. App install ads only show up in mobile feeds, which helps ensure that users are ready to download your application when they click on your ad.
If the person who clicks your ad already has your application, it’s possible to direct them to certain parts of your app through the use of Deep Linking.
Leads on Twitter
Leads on Twitter campaigns are best for collecting business leads on the network. These campaigns take advantage of Lead Gen Cards—which we’ll discuss more later—that collect audience contact information from respondents.
These campaigns are great for collecting qualified leads, since not having to fill out a form greatly reduces the barrier to convert.
This is a campaign type still being tested by Twitter, so not every account has access to create them. The campaign allows you to promote a video to your target audience. This also includes the ability to add a title, description and call-to-action button.
Custom campaigns are an easy way to create a campaign promoting your organic Tweets. It’s not the most efficient way to advertise on Twitter, since the site won’t target an audience it thinks will complete your goals.
4. Create a Twitter Advertisement
After you pick your objective you’ll need to choose the best type of content to complete your Twitter ads goal. The three main content vehicles are Tweets, Twitter Cards and videos.
The classic 140-character message type that people have come to expect from Twitter. It’s possible to add an image and link to your Tweets, but each of those will cost you 23 of your precious characters. The redeeming quality for paying to promote regular Tweets is that you should already have a ton to choose from, which saves you time creating new ads.
Twitter Cards are a way to create rich experiences for your audience. Cards have a lot more functionality than regular Tweets that make advertising more effective. You can create Twitter Cards from within your new campaigns.
Lead Generation Cards
You can manually pull the leads you collect, or you can sync your Lead Gen Cards with your CRM system to automatically collect new leads and add them to email campaigns.
Website Cards don’t require nearly as much time to set up as Lead Gen Cards, which make them a fantastic alternative. Website Cards can include 116 characters of copy, an image, a website link and a clickable CTA button.
Basic App Cards
Use Basic App Cards to get people to install your mobile apps on iOS or Android devices. Basic App Cards pull and display all of the necessary information from the iOS App Store or the Google Play store.
These Cards allow you to deep link your ads, so if a customer already has it installed it will direct them to the right place within the app.
Image App Cards
The Image App Cards function exactly like the Basic App Card, except this Card allows you to upload an additional image.
Promoting videos requires you to gain access to the Video View campaign beta test. Once you have access, you can promote videos to play inline on Twitter. As this is a newer feature, there isn’t much more information available as of yet. The best way to find out would be to get in touch with your Twitter rep to ask for access to the program.
5. Target Your Perfect Audience
After you’ve chosen an objective and creative, it’s time to segment your perfect target audience. Twitter has a number of different targeting capabilities that make it easy to find and segment a qualified audience.
It’s possible to build out a list of specific locations to target that you know you perform well in or you can show ads in all available locations.
You can choose from Any Gender, Male only or Female only.
This optional field gives you the ability to target users who speak specific languages.
Devices, platforms and carriers
You can target specific devices—such as iOS, Android or Desktop—specific operating systems or specific mobile network providers.
This is one feature that you won’t find on many other social networks. Twitter allows you to target certain keywords so that whenever someone uses that keyword in a Tweet, searches for that keyword or interacts with a Tweet that contains the keyword, they’ll become part of your target audience.
Enter various usernames and Twitter will target users who are similar to those users’ followers. For instance, adding @SproutSocial to a follower campaign won’t directly target its followers, but it will target users like its followers.
Twitter has an extensive list of interests you can target, and the network will serve ads to users who have expressed interest in that topic.
Tailored audiences are a way to use data from sources other than Twitter for your targeting. For example, you can use a pixel on your website to target people who have visited your page, or you can upload email information from your CRM and target those users.
Twitter has robust TV targeting capabilities. You can target people who are watching or have watched a specific show, network or genre of television. The genres range from Sports and Sports Talk all the way to Soap Opera.
Twitter combines its internal data with information from third-parties to build out audience behavior targeting. These include purchasing habits, such as “Sweets & snack buyers,” as well as audience lifestyle information, such as “Big city moms.”
Tailored Audience Exclusions
Similar to targeting custom audiences, like the people who have visited your website, you can exclude them from being served your ads. One example would be excluding your current users from seeing ads about your product.
It’s possible to take advantage of all the Twitter and third-party behavior data for excluding audience as well. For example, if you’re an ice cream company you may want to exclude the “Dairy free” behavior from your targeting.
6. Set Up Your Bidding Style
All you have to do now is choose a budget and you’ll be able to launch your new campaign. You’re required to put down a daily maximum you’re willing to spend, but you get to choose if you want to use Automatic or Maximum Bidding.
Twitter takes it upon itself to bid for your ad impressions. Twitter optimizes for the best results at the lowest price.
If you’d like to maintain control of your bids you can choose maximum bidding. Simply put the maximum amount that you’re willing to pay for an action and Twitter won’t go over it. Most of the time you’ll end up paying less than your max.
That is everything that you’ll need to know to get your paid Twitter campaigns up and running. Once those campaigns are garnering great response, try using a social media management tool like Sprout Social to handle all of your social engagement.
Michael Patterson: Michael enjoys writing about all things social media, and his insights can be found on Adweek's SocialTimes, Social Media Today and Social Media Examiner. When he isn't pouring over blog posts he can usually be found exploring Chicago's unique neighborhoods and breweries.