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Updated 11 Mar 2016

Using Twitter Ads to Grow

Twitter Ads can be really effective when used with a clearly-defined objective. They fundamentally enable you to reach a more targeted audience than you can using broad-based tools like twiends. The truth is that most people on twitter do not venture far off the platform itself, so if you want to connect with them you will need to use ads or outreach to do it.

Targeted vs Broad Growth

We have over a thousand people join twiends every day, but this is a drop in the ocean compared to the millions of users that only use twitter directly. Twitter ads are by far the most effective way to do targeted promotion, whereas we like to think of twiends being the most effective at broad promotion. The downside is that ads cost money, but that should not put you off including them in your overall strategy.
If you only want to add targeted followers to your audience then you should consider a combination of targeted methods, such as ads, contests, outreach, etc. These options vary in cost and reach, and we discuss them all in this guide. For this part of our guide I'm going to show you how to set up an ads campaign for targeted growth.

Step 1: Log into twitter ads

If you don't already have twitter ads then apply for an ads account now. Once you have it you'll find it in the top right user menu.

screenshot of twitter menu

Step 2: Create a new campaign

There are a lot of options when it comes to Ads, but the two that are most relevant to us are Followers and Tweet Engagements. Some of the other options allow you generate leads, get app installs, or drive traffic to your website. We'll skip those today and just focus on the first two for growth.

screenshot of twitter ads campaigns

Followers

These types of ads help you to quickly gain relevant followers. They display a tweet that you can specifically craft to attract followers to your account. The ad can be shown in various locations, including:
  • On the Home timeline
  • On the ‘Who to Follow' widget located on the right side of the Home and Notifications tabs
  • On the right side of the People search results page
  • On the right side of the Profile page.

This exposure increases the potential of your account being seen by more people. According to some studies done by twitter, 70% of your followers will go on to retweet you in future and 43% will make multiple purchases. I can't say I actually believe those numbers, but no doubt if targeted correctly you can get some of your highest value followers using ads.

Tweet Engagements

These help to expand the reach of your tweets. Here your goal is not specifically follows, but rather engagement or awareness. To get the most out of these ads, start by making sure that the tweet contains quality content with a hook - an announcement, or maybe a link to a good image or video. Then, you can target your tweet at your desired audience, and it will show up on the home timeline of the users you've targeted.

Step 3: Name & Date

Nothing too complicated here, give your campaign a name and set a duration if you want one.

screenshot of twitter ads campaign name

A quick tip is to use a standard format when naming your campaign, as you can end up with hundreds of small campaigns in your dashboard. Do something like "Followers: Keyword - Tweet". This tells you that it's a followers campaign targeting a certain keyword and using a certain tweet.

Step 4: Targeting

Now you get to choose your target audience. Twitter provides a whole bunch of targeting options that you can choose from:
(Not all of these are available for every campaign type though)
  • Follower: Target your Tweets at those who you think are most likely to be interested in your content.
  • Device: Filter your audience by the mobile device they use to access twitter.
  • Behaviour: You can also reach audiences based on their shopping habits.
  • Tailored Audiences: Already have a CRM list? Make use of it to reach out to them.
  • Geography: Go global, or hyperlocal - you can narrow the reach of your campaign down to the city or town.
  • Keyword: Be hyper-relevant by delivering messages based on what users have recently tweeted about or engaged with on twitter, triggered by certain identified keywords.
  • Language: When you need to reach people who speak a particular language.
  • Interest: Expose your ads to those whose interests are relevant to your business.
  • Gender: Target your message to males or females.
  • Television: People who engage with Tweets related to TV programming.


screenshot of twitter ads targeting

By targeting based on interests, you can connect with your desired audience based on larger interest categories (there are 350 to choose from). This is still pretty broad though, along with location, language, and gender.
Tailored Audiences are more specific, and allow you to retarget certain lists of users. For example, say you run a blog, you can target everyone who has visited your blog in the last few months.
Probably the most useful form of targeting is by Keyword, but it isn't available at the moment for follower campaigns. I use this one almost exclusively for promoting tweets. Here you can target your tweet to anyone who has mentioned a specific word or phrase in one of their tweets. I recommend you use well-constructed keyword lists here to target your ad exactly to the people you want to reach. If you don't do this then the campaign will become more broad, in which case it's probably better to use a broad-based platform such as twiends.

screenshot of twitter ads targeting

Step 5: Set your budget

It's optional to set a total budget for the entire duration of the campaign, but you are required to set a daily maximum amount. You also have to set a bid for the cost per follower or engagement. My advice is to start at the minimum bid and increase every 30-60 mins until you get the impression volume you want. You'll know within 5 mins whether the bid is too low, as there will be no impressions accumulating. I find that the suggested bids are usually way out of range.

screenshot of twitter ads bid

Step 6: Create your tweet

You have the option of creating a 'promoted only' tweet which will only be seen via the ad, or you can use one of your timeline tweets. Either way, you'll craft them slightly differently based on your campaign type:

Followers Campaign

For your followers campaign, you want to give users an irresistible reason to follow you. Get it right from the start - have a clear profile picture, a straightforward username, and a bio that clearly and succinctly explains who you are and what you have to offer. Be very judicious with the number of hashtags and usernames you use within the post to keep the focus squarely on your business.
Even twitter acknowledges that media elements such as images can actually distract from the call to follow, so you may want to also test simple text tweets when using a followers campaign. Create a compelling reason for the viewer to follow you, such as access to exclusive content, discounts, etc. These campaigns work really well with contests.

screenshot of twitter ads creative

Tweet Engagements

To help you get a higher response, you want content to be interactive and interesting. Here's what has worked for me: including images results in higher engagement, so experiment with highly quality images and video. But be aware that you may pay just to have people click your image (twitter counts this as engagement). So this will need to be balanced with your desire to get retweets or replies. It's sometimes cheaper not to use an image, and rather to use a poll or quirky message instead.

screenshot of twitter ads creative

You can also get creative with Vine to create short, looping videos or add up to four images in a single tweet. Tone matters, so be conversational, accessible and friendly. See it as an opportunity to share your brand's unique personality with users.

Step 7: Launch & Measure

Save and Launch Immediately. You're good to go!
Time to see how your ad is performing over at the campaign dashboard. This will allow you to see:
  • how many times your ads have been seen
  • the results of your ad campaign
  • the actions taken by users after seeing your ads
  • the engagement rate
  • as well as cost per result


screenshot of twitter ads analytics

These results can be assessed broadly, or broken down further into different objectives, individual campaigns, individual tweets, as well as your targeting criteria. You can analyse your results as deeply or as broadly as you wish. You can even set up conversion tracking to see how every dollar spent translates into desired results. I use my campaign dashboard to see what performs well and to tweak my future ads accordingly. I use them constantly to test ideas, try out headlines, and reach a group of people that I can't reach outside of the platform.
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Overview New Twitter Accounts Twitter Basics Reasons People Follow Followers vs Engagement Targeted vs Broad Same Country & Language Growth With Contests Twitter Chats & Events Attention Grabbing Tweets Growth With Twitter Ads Why People Don't Follow Interaction Tricks Twiends Featured Staying Safe & Growing