5 Tips for Maximising Returns from Twitter Advertising

Twitter Ads can help you gain new followers, generate leads and boost engagement. But when do they work best and how can you reach your target audience?

Twitter ads

Twitter Ads can help you gain new followers, generate leads and boost engagement. But when do they work best and how can you reach your target audience? Here are our findings.

UPDATE: My colleague Stef Lait has written a great post with updated insights on Twitter ads. Worth reading too.

We’ve recently started integrating targeted Twitter advertising into our client marketing campaigns. While, sadly, I can’t share the results of these, I’ve also been using my personal account for some testing – and some of the results are fascinating. Here are my headline tips:

1) Target the followers of specific accounts

Firstly, I promoted one of our social customer service webinars by targeting the followers of our speakers – such as Martin Hill-Wilson and Frank Eliason – plus other relevant accounts, such as Jonty Pearce and Jerome Pineau. Over a period of a week these generated 122 clicks through to the webinar and 10 signups. For a cost of £20 – that was a fair return. Extra benefits included 9,500 impressions, two retweets, two replies and six new followers.

I tried targeting against interests – and being able to target people who engage with specific TV show hashtags is a nice option – but it was obvious from the pool of people this offered me that this wasn’t going to work for this very niche event. I’d assume the ‘interests’ option is more B2C oriented.

Twitter ads

2) Target by device

If, as with our webinar, you are wanting people to fill in a signup form and this form is not as mobile-friendly as it ought to be (a serious challenge when using Twitter ads), you’ll want to target users who can easily sign up, i.e. those on non-mobile devices. When I switched off iPhone/Android etc. users, we started to get more signups.

3) Don’t pre-empt yourself – I had some weird results

When you start using Twitter ads you get two options: Promoted Tweets or Promoted Accounts. The assumption is that the former will get you engagement while the latter attracts followers. I tried the opposite: I promoted a personal Tweet that I’d sent about a blog post written by a colleague of mine. Over a period of 7 days my Tweet attracted 50 clicks (to the post) and 50 new followers for my account. I’d paid for the clicks, so 50 new followers as value add for my £20 felt pretty good – and way cheaper than you’d expect from Twitter ads (usually $2-3 per follower).

4) Don’t follow Twitter’s recommended bid price

When you create your campaign Twitter will suggest a max. bid price that you should offer. This is a ‘per engagement’ fee that you’ll pay for clicks, RTs, replies and follows. My suggested max bid was $2-3 per engagement, but I ignored this and went for $0.40. As it happened, my average bid price was $0.15 – so a country mile lower than Twitter suggested. Now, I might have got more engagement if I’d bid more, but I was happy with the rate of return and end results. This suggests to me that Twitter isn’t getting the bids for the kind of niche inventory I was after – which could be a great opportunity for some.

5) Don’t bother trying to advertise overseas

If, like us, you’re running activities around the world – even in France, Germany or the Middle East – Twitter ads won’t help. The self-service platform doesn’t work beyond the UK, US, Ireland and Canada. You can contact Twitter for a quote to advertise beyond these countries, but then you’re out of the small budget arena and would be best going through an established agency that can get better rates.

If you’ve got insights to share about your experiences with Twitter Ads – please add your comments below. 

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  1. nicochabs Reply

    Thanks Luke. it is great to hear about your experience. I will try this.

    Do you think it could be worth targeting the followers of specific influencers you might have identified on your topic of interest ? That would be a nice way to mix influencer marketing and media optimization !

    1. Luke Brynley-Jones Reply

      Hi Nico – Yes, that’s definitely part of it. Influencer analysis creeps into everything we do 😉

  2. Tazy_mohamed Reply

    I tried with the suggested bid and chose 2.5$ for each follow and the results were very good but I’m still curious what if I had chosen a lower bid, do you have a clue what difference that would have made ?

    1. Luke Brynley-Jones Reply

      If you bid less you’ll reach fewer people – so the chances are (if you’re running an on-going campaign) you’ll exhaust those people quickly. With a higher bid your tweets will be shown to more people, so your campaign can last longer. The relation between the bid and the price you pay per click is still pretty tenuous though – we have one account where we’re bidding £1 and paying 0.02p per engagement, for example.

  3. GermanGirlinLDN Reply

    I just started using Twitter Ads to promote my blog and hopefully gain more followers as well as getting more traffic. Your article helped me and answered questions, Twitter would not. Thank you.

    1. Luke Brynley-Jones Reply

      Glad it helped. I’ll be publishing some more thoughts on Twitter ads soon though, as their analytics aren’t all they seem.

  4. Jane Morgan Reply

    Interesting article. I too ignored the suggested price and bid lower with a decent return. Interesting to see you had the same experience.

    1. Luke Brynley-Jones Reply

      Thanks Jane. My colleague Stef Lait has written a newer post which takes a slightly different view though, so it’s worth reading that too: http://oursocialtimes.com/5-incredibly-smart-tips-to-improve-your-twitter-ad-performance-right-now/