With a focus on concise, real-time conversation, Twitter is the perfect marketing channel for businesses looking to generate awareness, connect with customers and drive sales. In fact, 49 percent of Twitter’s 288 million monthly active users follow brands, and 42 percent of users learn about products and services on the platform.
49 percent of Twitter’s 288 million monthly active users follow brands.
Whether your business goal is to drive awareness or leads, it’s important that your Tweets are being discovered. If you’re going beyond the conversational nature of Twitter and working within specific campaigns, Twitter Ads provide you with an easy way to get your those Tweets in front of more people.
Twitter’s suite of Promoted Products help you connect with the most receptive Twitter users at the most relevant moment. To help you supplement your organic efforts and reach business goals, here’s everything you need to know about Promoted Accounts, Promoted Trends, Promoted Tweets and Promoted Videos.
Twitter Ads Terminology
Before we dive into each Promoted Product, here are a few commonly used terms that every Twitter advertiser should be familiar with.
Clicks: Counted when a user clicks on a Promoted Tweet. It includes all clicks, including on the URL, profile picture, screen name, user name, detail, hashtag and follows. It also includes @replies, Retweets and favorites.
Click Rate: The number of clicks on a Promoted Tweet divided by the number of impressions. This is an indicator of how well your Promoted Tweets are performing.
CPE: Cost per engagement, or what an advertiser actually pays for each Promoted Tweet interaction—meaning you’ll only pay when someone Retweets, favorites, expands, clicks on, replies to or follows you from your Tweet.
CPF: Cost per follow, or what an advertiser actually pays for each Promoted Account follow—meaning you’ll only pay when someone clicks the Follow button on your ad.
CPV: Cost per view, of what an advertiser actually pays for each Promoted Video—meaning you’ll only pay when someone starts playing your video.
Follow: To follow someone on Twitter means to subscribe to their Tweets or updates.
Follow Rate: The number of users who follow a Promoted Account divided by the number of impressions.
Impression: The number of users who see a Promoted Account or Promoted Tweet. Impressions can only be counted on promoted content, so any impressions generated organically aren’t counted.
As part of the Who to Follow feature, Promoted Accounts will suggest accounts that people don’t currently follow but might find interesting. Promoted Accounts will be suggested based on the public list of who an individual is following. When you promote an account, Twitter identifies accounts similar to your own.
Similarity is determined by a variety of factors, including the followers who different accounts share. For example, a lot of animal lovers who follow animal-related accounts also follow @ASPCA. If someone follows animal-related accounts but not @ASPCA, Twitter might recommend @ASPCA to that individual.
Since this Twitter Ad is designed to boost your follower count, it’s best used when you’d like to be more discoverable to people who are likely to be interested in your business. You can connect with people who are interested in broad categories related to your business or those who are similar to the followers of your competitors or influencers in your industry.
This ad unit is often your first impression with an individual, so make every character count, especially in the timeline. Promoted Accounts are displayed in several places in an individual’s timeline and profile. When creating your ad, you will have the option of pairing a Tweet that will carry your campaign into the timeline. Although this isn’t required, it’s a good way to let potential followers learn more about your brand.
If you’re choosing an existing Tweet, don’t select one that has a link. Not only can it distract from the Follow button, but Twitter won’t expand any additional links or pictures. If you’re creating a new Tweet to pair, craft a short description that explains why someone should follow your account, and make sure you also include a strong call to action.
You’ll also want to visually optimize your account to appeal to new followers. A quick and easy way to do this is to use a clear profile picture that’s consistent with images used on other social profiles. Additionally, your bio should be concise and offer viewers the most informative details about your business. Most of all, give your followers something to engage with. If you’re going to promote your account, make sure you’re posting fresh, engaging content.
How to Promote an Account
Once you’ve logged into your Twitter Ads account, follow these steps to create your followers campaign:
- Click the blue Create New Campaign button on the main campaign dashboard.
- Choose the Followers option from the campaign picker.
- Name your campaign and set your dates.
- Select targeting options for your campaign.
- Compose or select a Tweet for targeting timeline.
- Set your budget and bid—Promoted Accounts are priced on a CPF basis.
- Save and launch your campaign.
Once your followers campaign is launched, your Promoted Account will appear to the users you’ve targeted in the following places:
- Home timeline
- Who to Follow widget on the right side of the Home and Notification tabs
- Who to Follow widget on the right side of the People search results page
- Who to Follow widget on the right side of the Profile page
Because it’s your account that’s being promoted, there isn’t an easy way to see your Promoted Account live on Twitter. The best way to tell if your campaign is running is to check the impression count in your analytics, which will increase as people start discovering your ad.
Success Story: Nylabone
Nylabone, a maker of doggie chew toys, used Promoted Accounts to grow its Twitter following. But rather than launch a Promoted Account campaign and hope for the best, the company monitored trending topics around dog-related conversations. This gave Nylabone insights to create interest keyword groups for its Promoted Accounts campaign.
As a result, Nylabone saw a 1,200 percent increase in followers—from 1,700 to more than 20,000. And by providing links to helpful health and wellness information on its website, Twitter became a top-three referrer to the company website.
— Nylabone Products (@nylabone) October 7, 2012
Nylabone saw a 1,200 percent increase in followers—from 1,700 to more than 20,000.
Twitter Trends are organic topics that are starting to generate more conversation. The Trends list helps people discover the “most breaking” breaking news from around the globe in real time.
Understanding the impact this list could have on advertisers, Twitter introduced Promoted Trends. This ad unit lets you shine a brighter light on time- and event-sensitive trends by positioning yourself at the top of the Trends list for 24 hours.
This has made Promoted Trends the perfect option for kick-starting conversations, launching products and running major campaigns. The catch? Guaranteed placement at the top of the Trends list isn’t cheap. Reports claim that Promoted Trends campaigns cost $200,000 a day. As such, they’re not recommended for smaller businesses.
If you represent a national brand looking for more exposure, here are some stats that might pique your interest. In a 2013 study, Twitter found that Promoted Trends boosted brand conversation, maximized awareness and purchase consideration, and exhibited long-term impact. Here are some key findings from that study:
- In the 14 days following exposure, Twitter users produced 22 percent more conversations about an advertiser compared to the two weeks before exposure. What’s more, there was a 30 percent lift in positive brand mentions and a 32 percent lift in Retweets of brand mentions.
- People were 151 percent more likely to Tweet about a product after Promoted Trends exposure. Conversations about intent and purchase also increased 19 percent and 33 percent, respectively.
- Promoted Trends are most impactful the day they run, with a 73 percent lift in brand mentions. That said, advertisers still saw 20 percent lift in brand mentions, 22 percent lift in positive mentions and 10 percent lift in Retweets even three weeks after a trend.
People were 151 percent more likely to Tweet about a product after Promoted Trends exposure.
Based on that data, Promoted Trends not only complement product launches and important events but can also prop up other campaigns that span two weeks or longer. For best results, it’s recommended that you use keyword-targeted Promoted Tweets to reach the most relevant, receptive audience.
At this time, Promoted Trends can’t be created from the Twitter Ads dashboard. If you’d like to learn more, reach out to your Twitter account representative.
Success Story: Virgin America
To promote a one-day, Twitter-exclusive flash sale, Virgin America used Promoted Trends to broadcast the promotion to a wider audience. The Fly Forward, Give Back campaign was a partnership between the airline and Stand Up to Cancer. Here’s what was promoted: fares starting at $49, with $5 per booking going to the charity. While the Promoted Trend amplified the sale, Virgin America also targeted Promoted Tweets its followers.
As a result, the #FlyFwdGiveBack campaign was one of the top five sales ever for the airline. Virgin America’s loyalty program, Elevate, also saw a 25 percent increase in sign-ups over the previous week. This was achieved in addition to raising $50,000 in charitable donations for Stand Up to Cancer.
Virgin America’s loyalty program saw a 25 percent increase in sign-ups.
Promoted Tweets get your best content in front of the right audience at the right time. Just like regular Tweets, they can be Retweeted, replied to, favorited and embedded. What makes Promoted Tweets different is that they can reach more people because they’re not limited to just people who follow you.
Some Promoted Tweets appear in your followers’ timelines near the top of the page. This allows your content to be highlighted regardless of when people log in. Also, the ad unit can appear to people similar to your followers. The catch here is that Promoted Tweets will only appear in the timeline of non-followers if the Tweet is likely to be considered interesting and relevant to those people.
Twitter uses a variety of signals to determine which Promoted Tweets are relevant, including which accounts people choose to follow, where they click on a Tweet and what they Retweet. To preserve user experience, any Promoted Tweet people see in their timelines will appear only once. After that, the ad will scroll through the timeline just like any other Tweet.
Although Twitter users can’t opt out of seeing a Promoted Tweet, they can dismiss it from their timelines. Twitter pays close attention to how its users interact with ads, so too many dismissals could impact future changes to the product. As such, you’ll want to put a lot of thought into which Tweets you promote.
How to Promote a Tweet
Once you’ve logged into your Twitter Ads account, follow these steps to create a basic Promoted Tweet campaign:
- Click the blue Create New Campaign button on the main campaign dashboard.
- Choose the Custom option from the campaign picker.
- Name your campaign and set your dates.
- Select targeting options for your campaign. Read in-depth about your targeting options here.
- Compose or select a Tweet to promote.
- Set your budget and bid—Promoted Tweets are priced on a CPE basis.
- Save and launch your campaign.
This process is made even easier by the Quick Promote button that was introduced earlier this year. The Quick Promote button lets you promote a Tweet directly from your Tweet activity dashboard. In just a few clicks, your Tweet with automatically be targeted to people who have interests similar to your followers. And since you’re already viewing your analytics, you can watch your Promoted Tweet perform in real time.
How to Create a Promoted-Only Tweet
Promoted-only Tweets are created directly from ads.twitter.com and are only shown to people targeted in your campaign. These Tweets won’t appear in your followers’ timelines, in search or on your profile. The only exception is anyone @mentioned in your Tweet—those people will receive a notification that they were mentioned, with a link to the Tweet.
You can create a Promoted-only Tweet in step five noted above. Rather than selecting from a pool of existing Tweets, compose a new Tweet in the box provided. You’ll have the option of including an image, location or Twitter Card by clicking on any one of the three icons below.
How to Promote a Tweet, Using Quick Promote
Introducing a quick and simple way to get your best Tweets in front of more potential customers. https://t.co/x4ckxmPwDI
— Twitter Small Biz (@TwitterSmallBiz) February 4, 2015
Introduced earlier this year, the Quick Promote button lets you promote a Tweet directly from your Tweet activity dashboard. In just a few clicks, your Tweet will automatically be targeted to people who have interests similar to your followers. Here’s how to get started:
- Log in to your Tweet activity dashboard.
- Select a Tweet to promote, preferably one that’s already resonating with followers. You’re able to tell this by looking at the total number of impressions and engagement rate.
- Choose a budget.
- Click Confirm, and watch people engage with your Tweet in real time.
Promoting a Tweet is a great way to gain exposure and drive actions, but make sure that campaigns are aligned with your business objectives. For example, to increase Twitter engagement, you’ll want to select Twitter engagements from the campaign picker. Or if you want to connect users with your website, you should select website clicks or conversions from the campaign picker.
The steps that follow are similar to those listed above for basic Promoted Tweets, regardless of objective. The only differences you’ll run into are different levels of targeting and the option to incorporate Twitter Cards. Don’t forget: You can create multiple campaigns to suit each of your goals, so don’t limit yourself to just one.
With any business objective, consider the following Promoted Tweet tips for best results:
- Keep it short. Promoted Tweets with fewer than 100 characters see higher engagement rates.
- Include rich media. Photos and videos work better than text-only Tweets, and including Vines or multiple photos outperforms showcasing a single image.
- Use Twitter Cards. Website Cards and Lead Generation Cards perform better than Tweets with URLs because they provide context and remove barriers.
- Avoid using all capital letters, profanity and irrelevant or insensitive hashtags.
Success Story: Hailo Ireland
If you must promote a text-only Tweet, do what Hailo Ireland did and create copy based on real-time happenings, such as weather, holidays, traffic and events.
With refined targeting and highly relevant messaging, the brand saw a 20 percent increase in downloads of its app per day.
Hailo Ireland saw a 20 percent increase in downloads of its app per day.
Another solid text-only approach can be seen in this Tweet from Blackboard. The education software company used Promoted Tweets the day before a branded competition to build anticipation and excitement. The company launched another Promoted Tweet when the competition went live and continued to engage followers with interesting content throughout its duration.
As a result of its campaign, Blackboard saw a 78 percent increase in daily brand mentions and exceeded its competition participation goal by 50 percent.
Blackboard saw a 78 percent increase in daily brand mentions.
Promoted Video, the newest addition to the Promoted Products suite, builds upon the Amplify program and makes it even easier for businesses to upload and distribute video on the social network. But why would you want to when there’s auto-play ads on Facebook and pre-roll ads on YouTube?
Early testing from Nielsen found that purchase intent lift was 28 percent higher for people who chose to watch brand videos on Twitter than for people who saw the same videos as pre- or mid-roll ads during a 22-minute program. What’s more, people watching branded content on Twitter versus other platforms were more willing to remain engaged with videos longer than 30 seconds.
Purchase intent lift was 28 percent higher for people who chose to watch brand videos on Twitter.
Product spotlight: Get to know our native video player & see how Promoted Video can help your brand drive engagement https://t.co/0onRzAukbe
— Twitter Advertising (@TwitterAds) January 13, 2015
So how is this different from embedding a video in a Tweet and then promoting that Tweet? It all comes down to data. Promoting a Tweet with a video embedded means you’ll only see metrics for interactions with the Tweet and impressions. Any engagement with the video won’t be recorded. With Promoted Video, you’re given access to video analytics, so you can track data like completion percentage and a breakdown of organic versus paid views.
Brands have found creative and successful ways to incorporate Promoted Video into their social media marketing strategies. One of the challenges that advertisers face, however, is finding the right balance in terms of length. It’s recommended that you test different video lengths, Tweet text, thumbnail images and targeting options to learn what resonates. You’ll also want to keep in mind that 90 percent of Promoted Video views happen on mobile devices, so make sure your video plays well on smaller screens.
Let’s take a look at Promoted Video from two different brands: Glade and Nike. The former effectively communicated the value of its Tweet in just 12 seconds and received hundreds of Retweets and favorites.
— Glade (@Glade) November 17, 2014
Meanwhile, Nike engaged viewers from start to finish with its four-minute World Cup spot and received thousands of Retweets and favorites.
— Nike Soccer (@nikesoccer) April 26, 2014
You can also align your TV and Twitter strategies by combining Promoted Video and TV Targeting. For example, to maximize distribution and social sharing, Foot Locker used Promoted Video to distribute a TV commercial just as the spot began to air, earning the brand thousands of Retweets and favorites.
— Foot Locker (@footlocker) August 5, 2014
At this time, Promoted Video can’t be created through the Twitter Ad dashboard. If you’re ready to get started, reach out to your account representative.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.