Are you still disregarding Twitter as a powerful social marketing platform? Now might be the time to change your mind! Twitter isn’t going anywhere. With its new, robust PPC platform, Twitter advertising is sure to surprise those who’ve been napping on this social giant.

Twitter advertising works extremely well for anyone looking to capitalize on fresh information or newsworthy events. It’s the first-touch source for information and news within countless industries. Universal analytics went beta? Facebook revealed “ad sets”? Google Hummingbird was released? We all received this information first via trigger-happy content pushers on Twitter.

Twitter Advertising

Getting Started with Twitter Advertising

So how can marketers tap into twitter advertising? Let’s consider my path to Twitter. I’m a huge sports fan. I have both the ESPN and Bleacher Report apps on my phone, I’m a fan of their Facebook page, and I follow them on Twitter. I probably spend more than a quarter of my day with Facebook open. Bleacher Report posts to its Facebook page at least 15 times a day on average, and about half of those posts lead to new streams filled with tweets, Vines, and Instagrams. Live game feeds are laden with Twittersphere reactions to in-game play. And to top it all off, ESPN, the NFL Network, and NBA TV almost always field live tweets from fans, analysts, players, coaches, and anyone in or around game action.

Let’s say you’ve just started a new sports league in the Chicago area and you’d like to drive potential players to your site to sign up. During national televised games, you use one of Twitter’s targeting options to advertise your league via sponsored tweets. This particular campaign would be a direct response campaign. In other words, you’re not just trying to get your name out there; your goal is to have people sign up for the league.

Our goal here is website conversions. Although Twitter advertising allows us to set up campaigns to gain new followers, maximize tweet engagements, gather app installs or engagements, and collect leads, I prefer website clicks or conversions. Call me bias but I believe real digital marketers go for concrete goals on social media. Conversations don’t pay the bills, right? I need conversions, especially if I’m paying for it.

Now that we have a goal in mind, let’s look at our targeting options:

  • Website remarketing lists: This is a favorite option. Set Twitter’s remarketing pixel on your website and watch as the magic happens.
  • Tailored audience: Use your own lists of email addresses and Twitter IDs or create and manage audiences through a supported partner.
  • Television show: Choose to target audiences talking about certain television shows.
  • Keywords: Target via keywords and hashtags. This option works extremely well. As with other paid social networks, there are “residual treats” other than your conversion goal, including follows, retweets, and replies. So if your tweet is amazing, you can double down on your efforts and achieve a solid “effective cost per engagement” (eCPE). An “engagement” is classified as a click, retweet, reply, or card engagement. These are added up and divided by the campaign spend, which gives your cost by all engagements. This is a great choice if you want to demonstrate the true value of your efforts to your superiors or clients.
  • Interest and followers: Choose from interests and/or followers similar to those of a certain Twitter user/account. For example, for a webinar on SEO, I might target followers similar to the followers of @seomoz. This feature works much the same way as AdWords’ remarketing “similar list” in which a similar audience is targeted. We’ve had success using this to promote the BFO Twitter account.
  • Overall, the best practice is to create a campaign for each targeting method, so that you’re aware of what works best for you. In our hypothetical scenario, you could target keywords in one campaign (Keywords), viewers of ESPN First Take within another campaign (Television show), and followers of the Chicago Bears in a third (Followers). Together, this well rounded mix of campaigns covers all the bases and gives us the best opportunity for success when advertising on Twitter.

Choosing an Ad

Another great thing about Twitter advertising is the options for your actual ads. Once you have decided on your targeting method, you can either chose to promote an existing tweet, create a new tweet specifically for your campaign, or use website cards. I rarely use existing tweets. In my experience, fresh tweets written specifically for each campaign outperform existing tweets in conversions, engagements, and cost per engagement.

Website cards are a bit like Sponsored posts on Facebook. They eliminate the costly problem of clicks to your account page by enabling all elements of the card to link back to your website. Website cards allow a 70 character headline, an image, a display link, and a call-to-action. If you are familiar with running standard PPC campaigns, you’ll feel right at home running website cards.

The Twitter advertising platform is a formidable tool for the savvy marketer, boasting over 271 million active users every month. With the addition a solid analytics reporting interface, conversion tags, and remarketing tags, Twitter has everything you need to drive quality results. And it’s only getting better. Don’t get left behind!

To learn more about hopping on the Twitter bandwagon, talk to one of our social media marketing experts today.

twitter advertising