5 incredibly smart tips to improve your Twitter ad performance right now

You’re setting up a new Twitter advertising campaign, but which tweets should you promote? What handles should you target? Are keywords a better tactic than interests? We put...

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You’re setting up a new Twitter advertising campaign, but which tweets should you promote? What handles should you target? Are keywords a better tactic than interests? We put these questions directly to Twitter. Here’s what they said…

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There is a lot to consider when running a Twitter ads campaign. And whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, it’s helpful to review best practices from time to time to ensure your campaign has the best chance of success. In a recent conversation with Twitter, we asked about the best techniques to optimise a Twitter campaign. Some we already knew, but others surprised us, especially when we saw the results for ourselves.

Here are five tips you can put into place right now to improve your Twitter ads campaign. Get your pen and paper ready!

1. Limit your selected tweets to 4-5 per campaign at any one time

I know it’s hard. You’re there, scrolling through a list of tweets it took you hours to come up with, and you want them all to have a chance to shine. But you are better off selecting 4-5 to start with, waiting at least 3-5 days to see how they have performed, and then adjusting as needed. To judge which performed better, look at their engagement rate, not only their impressions figure. Remove the lower performing tweets and create or select a couple of new ones, always maintaining that 4-5 figure. Continue until you have only your best performing ads running.

The works not done there, however. Our contact at Twitter divulged a little fun fact that the freshness of content also plays a large factor in determining best performance. So make sure you’re continually adding and testing new tweets (2-3 new tweets is a good mark) or selecting new tweets to promote before going back to old faithfuls. Just keeping the promoted tweets varied will help with your overall performance.

 2. Try targeting both interests and keywords

Some of us didn’t even realise this option existed, especially if you just jumped into Twitter ads without any training. When creating a new campaign, after selecting your objectives, look to the Targeting section and you’ll see four options. The two most useful (depending on your strategy) are Keywords and Interests and Followers. If you’re not sure which to choose, you can do both and see which works best for your campaign. This may require you to split your original budget, but it all leads to the same campaign objective and you’ll learn more about your audience along the way.

When targeting interests and followers, select the general areas that your customers will be interested in. Once the campaign is running, you’ll be able to see which interests are the most popular among those who are engaging with your ads and adjust targeted interests accordingly. Similarly with followers, start off by targeting specific Twitter handles of your competitors or key influencers that you think your customers may already be following. Twtrland is a great free tool for finding influencers in your industry. Another great paid-for tool is Traackr. After the campaign has been live for a few days, you can adjust, remove and add others, based on each @handles’ performance.

3. Refrain from including photos, links or hashtags in your follower campaigns

This one even surprised us as we’ve run follower campaigns in the past with images in the tweets that received enormously high engagement rates. However, as our contact at Twitter so helpfully pointed out, the follower rate was not as high as it could have been, and we were talking about follower campaigns after all. By refraining from adding photos, links or hashtags you are limited the potential for users to do anything other than click to follow you. Engagement (ie. clicks, retweets or favourites) is far less a factor here.

After putting this recommendation into practice we saw a staggering 30% rise in follower rate and lowered our cost per follow by £0.15, bringing us to an engagement rate of 0.28%, which is the higher end of the 0.1 – 0.3% average, according to Twitter.

4. Do include images and links in your engagement campaign tweets

Engagement campaigns are great for brand awareness and generating discussion. In a recent webinar, Twitter revealed tweets than contain links receive 86% higher engagement rates than tweets with text only. What’s more? Tweets with images have 200% higher engagement rate than those without. So grab your camera or smartphone and start snapping!

According to Twitter, in an engagement campaign, you only pay per first engagement. So if a user retweets you, all engagements garnered from their account should be free. However, after some digging, we found that this is not entirely accurate. The cost per engagement shown on your campaign results page is actually driven down each time a person engages with that original RT, engagements that you haven’t paid for. Because those additional engagements are free, but are included in your overall engagements, the cost of the original click, retweet, and/or favourite is actually much higher than the amount shown would leave you to believe. For example, a £0.15 CPC is actually more like £0.55, depending on how many additional engagements the original had. To be clear, Twitter is not charging you for the extra engagements incurred, but they’re also not being entirely accurate on the engagement rate of those original paid-for RTs, only the whole cost per all engagements generated.

Regardless, no matter how Twitter displays your results, the more engaging your content is, the more clicks you’ll receive, the higher your engagement rate and the lower your cost per engagement will be. According to Twitter the average engagement rate is 1-3%.

5. Trust in the ‘suggested bid’

We’ve written about the ‘suggested bid’ that Twitter offers when you’re setting up a campaign in fairly critical terms previously. It’s not just there to scam you, we’re told, but a careful calculation based on the quality of your content and who and what you’re targeting. And to Twitter’s credit, in our experience, the suggested bid amount is never the price you end up paying. Depending on the strength of your content, your cost per click can often end up being far, far less. A current campaign we are running at the moment, for example, has a max bid set at £1.10, but with an engagement rate of 23.9%, the CPC is just £0.02, allowing for optimal reach and engagement. The key to a low CPC is not a low bid, but fresh and engaging tweets, specific targeting and general best practices, including the tips here.

One of the best things about Twitter ads is that you can edit targeting, add new content and improve results all in real-time. Once you launch your campaign try and return to it every couple of days to see which tweets are performing best, which target options have the highest engagement or lowest CPC.  Remember to keep your promoted tweets to 4-5 per campaign, try targeting both interests and keywords, keep follower tweets free of other clickable content (e.g. hashtags, images and links), do the opposite for engagement tweets, and use the suggested bid. By following these recommendations, you will give your next Twitter ad campaign it’s best chance at success.

What are your Twitter ad experiences? Have we missed anything you wanted to know? Please ask away in the comments section below.

If you need expert support getting results from your Twitter ads, we’d love to help. Read our amazing DairyCo case study and, if you like what you see, contact us for an informal chat.

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4 comments

  1. dennis Reply

    Great post, thanks Stef – some helpful tips. I’m particularly glad you backed up number 3 with some stats, as I had my doubting hat on whilst reading it to start with!

    1. Stef Lait Reply

      Glad we could help Dennis!

  2. Kim Murphy Reply

    Great post. I went to Facebook but maybe the CPC can be lowered on Twitter. What is your experience comparing the two?

    1. Stef Lait Reply

      Hi Kim, it can really vary, as CPC is based on so many factors, including the audience you’re targeting, your goal, creative, etc. Your best bet is to try both channels, if you can, and see which provides a better ROI. To help lower CPC, be sure you start with many variations of copy and images, let them run for a week or so, and then deselect those which are proving too costly and with the lowest engagement rate. Then review your targeting options – keywords, demographics, etc, and select those which are performing best. The key to a lower CPC is to refine, refine, refine. Let us know how you get on!

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