Setting Up Your First Twitter Advertising Campaign – A Step-by-Step Guide
Pay Per Click (PPC)
How to Guide

Setting Up Your First Twitter Advertising Campaign – A Step-by-Step Guide

Malaika NicholasMalaika Nicholas

July 19, 2021

First, it was Facebook Lead Ads.

Then, it was Google AdWords.

And today, it’s Twitter ads!

This week, I launched my very first Twitter advertising campaign to promote our latest guide on GDPR–and I want to walk you through exactly how I did it, step-by-step.

If you’re still on the fence about launching a Twitter ads campaign for your business, don’t fret. I’ll briefly explain the benefits of running Twitter ads, show you the different types of Twitter Ads, and then show you how to launch your very first campaign.

…or you can click here to skip right to the step-by-step guide. In any case, let’s get to it!

Why You Should Try Twitter Ads

I know Facebook and Google AdWords are two of the most powerful advertising platforms in a marketer’s toolkit, but you should really consider giving Twitter’s advertising platform a little love. Here’s why.

Twitter loves small businesses

I’m not kidding: Twitter loves small businesses. A 2016 report from Twitter and Research Now found that 93 percent of respondents who follow SMBs plan to make a purchase, and 69 percent of users have already made a purchased from an SMB because of content they saw on Twitter. Users are also looking for your business. The study also found that 66.4 percent of respondents said they’ve discovered a new SMB on Twitter.

You’ll get more bang for your advertising buck

It’s true! Twitter’s ad platform is extremely cost-effective, which makes it the perfect budget-friendly ad platform for small businesses and entrepreneurs. In fact, a recent study found that for every dollar you spend on a Twitter ad, there was an average return of $2.70. Also, unlike Facebook, Twitter doesn’t require a minimum budget, giving you more control over your budget.

More purchases, more revenue

Aside from saving you money, Twitter ads can also help your business make money. The 2016 report from Twitter and Research Now found that after users discover a new small or medium-sized business, 38.6 percent of respondents shopped at their store or website, and 25.4 percent have made a purchase.

Attract more customers and revenue using Twitter

Twitter video ads aren’t as intrusive

Am I the only one who hates being interrupted by a video as whenever I watch a cute puppy video on Facebook? Fortunately, Twitter video ads aren’t as intrusive. In fact, a survey by OPG Mediabrands found that 73 percent of users didn’t find video ads on Twitter intrusive and most actually thought they were informative.

Provide customer service in real-time

Twitter is also a go-to platform for consumers to interact with your business. If users see your ad but have questions about your brand or product, you can answer their questions on Twitter, eliminating the hassle of having users submit a help desk ticket. In fact, according to Twitter, 85 percent of SMB Twitter users said that providing customer support on Twitter is important to them.

Get discovered and gain followers

How do I gain Twitter followers?” is one of the most popular questions I’ve been asked throughout my career. While there are several organic tactics you can use to build up your Twitter follower count, advertising campaigns are another efficient way of getting discovered and accelerating your follower growth. According to findings in Twitter and Research Now’s 2016 report, 85.4 percent of respondents believed Promoted Accounts help them discover new businesses on Twitter, and 68 percent said they followed an SMB after noticing their Promoted Account.

Use Twitter Ads to Gain Exposure and Twitter Followers
Photo Credit:

Phew! That was a lot, but I hope these reasons convince you to consider giving Twitter ads a try. Now let’s move to a brief overview of the types of Twitter ads available.

What Type of Twitter Ads Should You Try?

Before launching your first ad campaign, you should become familiar with the four types of Twitter ads.

1. Promoted Tweets

Promoted Tweets look just like regular tweets in your timeline, except an advertiser pays to display that tweet to a new audience or their current followers. Promoted tweets are always clearly labeled “Promoted”, but users can like, reply, and retweet the post just like a regular tweet.

Promoted Tweets are one of the best options for small businesses because they can be displayed in a number of different ways, including search result pages, search results for a Promoted Trend, a user’s timeline, select user profiles, and Twitter’s official desktop and mobile clients.

An example of a promoted tweet

2. Promoted Accounts

Promoted Accounts are displayed to users who don’t follow an account they may be interested in. This campaign is perfect for businesses who want to attract more engaged followers. Promoted accounts are often displayed in a user’s timeline, in their “Who to Follow” section, and in search result pages.

Promoted Account Example
Photo Credit: Noah David/Twitter

3. Promoted Trends

Promoted Trends are popular larger enterprise brands because they display event or time-sensitive trending topics to all Twitter users at the top of the Trending Topics section in a user’s timeline and Explore tab. Promoted Trends are often hashtags, which makes this campaign perfect for sparking engagement with new and current users and curating user-generated content.

Promoted Trends on Twitter
Photo Credit: Twitter for Business

4. Promoted-only Tweets

Finally, you should understand the difference between Promoted-only Tweets and Promoted Tweets. Promoted-only Tweets are only shown to users that you specifically target in your ads campaign, not your current followers, unlike Promoted Tweets, which will be visible to your followers like a normal tweet. Moreover, a user can still engage with a Promoted-only tweet, just like they would for regular and Promoted Tweets.

This type of campaign is great if, let’s say, you want to share an old blog post with a brand-new audience, without looking “spammy” to current followers who may have already seen and read the post before.

This is the type of campaign I ran to distribute our GDPR blog post and I’ll show you exactly how I set it up.

How to Set Up Your First Twitter Ad Campaign

Before we get started, you need to make sure your account is eligible to run Twitter ads. Here’s an article from Twitter Support that will help you determine if your account is eligible.

When you’re ready, open your Twitter account, click on your Profile and Settings icon, and click “Twitter Ads” to open the Ads Manager.

Opening Twitter Ads Manager

In Ads Manager, click “Create campaign” on the top right. This will bring you to the page where you’ll select your campaign objective.

Step 1: Select a Business Objective

To promote our GDPR blog post, I decided to select the “Tweet engagements” objective instead of website clicks or conversions. I hypothesized that if we’re targeting Twitter users who are not our current followers and who may not have heard of Ladder before, then it would be more effective to optimize for engagements for a lower cost per engagement and cost per click.

Select an Objective For Your Twitter Ads

Step 2: Create a new Twitter campaign

After selecting an objective, continue on to create your campaign. Give your campaign a name, a funding source (make sure you set that up in advance), set your daily budget, and you can set your total budget if you so choose.

For our campaign, we set our daily budget to $15, our total budget to $100, and set the campaign to run only for a week.

Twitter Ads for Engagements

Step 3: Create a new ad group

Next, move on to create and name your ad group. If you’re new to advertising, you may be confused by the difference between a campaign and an ad group. An ad group contains one or more ads which target a shared set of keywords or a common theme, and campaigns can contain more or more ad groups.

Therefore, Twitter gives you the option of setting start and end dates and setting a budget for your ad group. For our GDPR campaign, we did not set a total budget, bid amount, or dates for our ad group, but we did set our bid type to automatic.

Creating a new ad group for Twitter

Step 4: Select or create your creatives

After creating your ad group, move on to selecting your creatives. One of the first things you’ll notice is that Twitter gives you the option of promoting one of your organic tweets, which is a huge time-saver, but you can create a new tweet from scratch by clicking the blue compose tweet button (circled in red).

Creating a new ad creative for your Twitter ad.

Creating a new promoted tweet is just the same as creating an organic tweet. You’ll still have to abide by the 280 character limit, and you can add hashtags, photos, videos, polls, or a card.

Twitter Cards allows the contents of your ad stand out even more. To create a Card, click the Card option (circled in red).

New Twitter Card in Ad

Next, click on the link to visit your Cards library (circled in red).

Twitter Cards Library.

When creating a new card in the Cards library, you’ll have the option to create a website card, a video website card, an image app card, or a video app card. If this is your first campaign, I recommend creating a website card to get started.

When creating a new website card, select an image you’d like displayed, a headline, a link to your website or blog article, and a name for the card. Here’s how our website card look:

Editing a website card in Twitter

Pro Tip: Add a CTA to the headline of the website card. So instead of saying “GDPR and Growth Marketing: The Definitive Guide”, I should’ve added a CTA and changed the copy to “Read The Definitive Guide on GDPR and Growth Hacking”.

Now that you have your card created and saved, go back to your Tweet composer and add your new card to your tweet. When you’re happy with the final product, click “Tweet” or you can schedule your tweet to be shared later.

Composing a new promoted tweet

When you’re done, go back to your ad group and find the creative you just made by filtering for Promoted-only Tweets or Scheduled Tweets. Then, select the creative(s) that you want to promote.

For our campaign, we decided to promote three tweets with the same copy, but with slightly different styles to see if a website card will, in fact, improve our engagement rates. Our first tweet has a website card and an additional link to our blog post in the description.

Example of Tweet with a Website Card

The second tweet also has a website card, but didn’t add a link to the caption.

Twitter Ad with Website Card

And the third ad does not have a website card; instead, it has our GDPR cover photo and a link to the blog post in the caption.

Twitter Ads without a website card

Step 5: Determine where your promoted Tweets will appear

After selecting your creatives, don’t forget to determine where your promoted tweets will appear. You can do this on the right side of your screen. For our GDPR campaign, we decided to place our ads in users’ timelines, profiles, and Tweet detail pages, and search results.

Determine where your promoted Tweets will appear

Step 6: Find your target audience

Now it’s time to find your target audience!

If this is your first time running a Twitter campaign or you’re just a beginner to digital advertising, you can skip the “Your audiences” section, which contains one or more of your saved custom audiences.

Instead, jump down to demographics to select a gender and age range. In the field below age ranges, you can select targeting options for people by location, language, platform, device, carrier, or OS version. For our campaign, we selected all genders, all ages, and narrowed down our locations to the United States and the United Kingdom.

How to find your target audience on Twitter

Continue scrolling to the audience features section. Here, you’ll be able to refine your search by targeting people’s behaviors, interests, people with interests similar to an account’s followers), keywords (follower look-alikes), and people who tweeted about or engaged with movies and TV shows in specific markets (Movies and TV shows).

Twitter ads audience features

To promote our GDPR post, we decided to target followers of popular digital marketing publications, tools, and software, like Unbounce, Content Marketing Institute, Optimizely, Moz, MailChimp, and many more. This left us with an estimated audience size of 2 – 4 million users.

Step 7: Review and publish your campaign

You’ve made it to the finish line! Move on the Review & Complete page to review the details of your campaign and launch it! 🚀

Review Twitter Ads Campaign

And there you have it–your step-by-step guide on how to set up your first Twitter campaign. If you have questions, feel free to drop us a line on Twitter (@LadderDigital) or talk to a Ladder strategist to learn how you can incorporate Twitter ads into your marketing campaigns!

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