How to Get Started with Twitter Advertising

June 20, 2012By:

Edit: View our post on Twitter’s New Ad Center to learn about Twitter’s latest ad developments.

Are you thinking about setting up an ad campaign on Twitter? Here are some pointers on how to get started using Twitter advertising, also known as Promoted Products.

But first…why Promoted Products?

Perhaps your organization has been using Twitter for a while, but now you want to increase the number of followers you have, extend the reach of your messaging, or increase awareness of a new product or event. Twitter’s Promoted Products can help you do all of this.

Twitter Amplification Cycle

Which Promoted Product should you use?

There are three Promoted Products available to organizations that wish to advertise on Twitter: Promoted Accounts, Promoted Tweets and Promoted Trends. Which to use? Well, that depends on your advertising goals and budget.

Promoted Accounts

Looking to increase your followers and brand awareness on Twitter? Then a Promoted Account is the product for you. This works by promoting your Twitter profile in the “Who to follow” module that appears next to the public Twitter feed. A Promoted Account helps to grow incremental earned media and exposure, and increase your brand advocates and influencers.

A unique feature of Promoted Accounts is that your ad is targeted towards users who already follow accounts that are similar to yours. And because you only pay when a user follows your account (cost-per-follow or CPF), that allows you to determine the exact cost of acquiring each new follower.

Geographic targeting is also available; however, in Canada at this time, only country-level targeting is available (in the US, targeting can be done by metro area).

Promoted Tweets

These ads are created from the Tweets that are sent out from your Twitter account and then promoted to other Twitter users based on the targeting specified. Targeting can include country-level, search (keyword), followers and profile pages.

Promoted Tweets are a strong complement to a content marketing campaign for amplifying your organization’s messaging, leveraging real-time intent and driving engagement. These ads appear in search results and in timelines. Again, the advertiser only pays when a user engages with the Promoted Tweet (cost-per-engagement or CPE), which includes a click, favourite, Retweet or reply.

Promoted Trends

Promoted Trends are out of reach for many advertisers due to the large budget they require. However, when making a big announcement, kicking off an event or seeding a conversation to create some buzz, Promoted Trends help to ramp up awareness quickly.

Unlike Promoted Tweets, which can appear in timelines or search results, Promoted Trends are fixed placements on a user’s home timeline page for 24 hours at a time on a first-come, first-served basis. This means that your Promoted Trend is the only one that shows for a 24-hour period.

Now that you know which Promoted Product to use…

Determine your budget

There are over 250 million Tweets created each day, and 100 million active Twitter users, and the numbers are growing!

When using Promoted Tweets, we went through our first $100 in less than 24 hours, with the geographic targeting set to Canada only. Twitter recommends a bid (the maximum amount you’re willing to spend per follow or click) that attempts to get the most follows or engagements for you within your specified budget. When beginning your campaign, Twitter will recommend a bid based on averages across all advertisers on Twitter, with the minimum allowed bid at 50 cents. After a few days, Twitter will adjust your minimum required bid based on the historical performance of your campaign.

Personally, I found that $50 per day for my campaign ran out quickly, so I would suggest an initial budget of at least $100 per day to get the ball rolling and acquire clicks and engagement. Twitter adjusts your minimum required bid depending on how relevant or “useful” other Twitter users find your Promoted Tweets to be. This is based on clicks, Retweets, favourites and how “engaging” your Tweets are.

Clean your Tweets

Twitter automatically pulls in the five most recent Tweets from your profile, which are ultimately used as the ads that show during your campaign. This is done through a built-in ad quality filter that, by combining relevance, engagement and the age of a Tweet, decides which Tweets to serve as a Promoted Tweets.

However, this can also include any third-party content that you have retweeted – which can end up being used as your Promoted Tweet, ultimately driving traffic to the third-party site, not yours. This negates the entire reason why your organization would want to use Twitter’s Promoted Products to promote your content. You don’t want to pay for clicks to someone else’s website!

To avoid this, it is absolutely necessary for any organization that is considering using Promoted Products to have a full-time resource available to manage these campaigns and to go through the process of removing any third-party Tweets or Retweets that should not be used as a Promoted Tweet.

Measure and change up!

As your campaign runs, you may notice that some of your Tweets receive low click-through-rates (CTR). Historically, standard display advertising CTRs have been about 0.05%. With Twitter, it’s not unrealistic to expect CTRs of 1% to 3%. I found it particularly useful to go through the campaign every few days and remove stagnant Promoted Tweets that were receiving a CTR of below 1%.

Have you used Twitter Promoted Products yet? If so, what has your experience been?