Want to advertise on twitter? The little blue bird currently offers three main options: promoted tweets, promoted accounts, and promoted trends. First – the basics. Let’s dig in!
If you’re a direct advertiser – that is you advertise for a specific, actionable outcome such as a purchase or lead generation – promoted tweets are in most cases going to be your best bet. Here’s an example of what it looks like in a timeline:
With promoted tweets, you have some different ways you can choose the tweets you promote:
- Choose specific tweets from your timeline.
- Have twitter automatically pick them (you have control to pull out the @ replies so you don’t have to worry about those going in).
- New! Include tweets that won’t appear in your timeline; they’re much more like a traditional ad unit as they will only show up as part of your campaigns as a promoted tweet.
You’ll pay per engagement, which means when someone clicks on a link in your tweet, replies to you from it, retweets it, or favorites it. We’ve found click costs to be pretty inexpensive in comparison to, say, Google AdWords for many niches. Your mileage may vary and you’ll – as always – want to pay close attention to how the user interacts post-click with your site, especially as it comes to conversions.
You don’t have the same targeting options that you do with paid search or even retargeting, facebook, or LinkedIn, but you can target by:
- Location (countries or metro areas)
- Your followers or users like your followers (as determined by twitter)
- Types of devices (e.g. laptops / desktops or mobile devices, which can be broken down by platform for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry)
- Interest (either by quasi-broad, pre-set categories or through making your own custom interest list based on twitter accounts)
You also get to set bids and budgets as well as start and end dates, although there is no day parting.
Finally, there are two main ways your ads can appear for promoted tweets – either in the timelines of users or in the search results. For search results, you get to choose what keyword searches (including #s and @s) for where you want your ad to appear.
If your main goal is ramping up your follower account without doing the manual work of engagement or resorting to something a little seedier like buying followers, you can run a promoted account campaign.
Here you’re paying per follower gained. You get to set geography like with promoted tweets along with your budget and bid. You also get to target interests by keywords. Twitter determines the interests of the users it will display your ad to based on its secret sauce, which includes the folks those people follow.
Promoted trends allow you to serve up a trend of your choosing in an effort to make it go viral. It’s not astroturfing because it’s clearly labeled as an ad, but let’s just say it feels like forcing something down people’s throats, not unlike the Gluttony Sin guy in 7even.
Plus, it’s $150,000 per day (as of Q1 2013). Yes, you read that right. It can be a little less in different countries, but that’s the US rate.
Full Capabilities for Self Service Twitter Accounts
Twitter offers two different levels at which you can have a twitter advertising account. The full / regular account where you have all of the above optimization options requires a $15,000 commitment to twitter, which can be spread out over the course of three (3) months.
They have also offered a stripped-down version of their advertising accounts that were called either Self Service or Small Business. They carried no minimum, but also were very light on features. As of March 2013, they are now offering full account features for all advertisers. Now all twitter advertisers can do things like:
- Create new ad-only tweets for promotion.
- Get anything other than basic analytics for the campaigns and will not give you general analytics for your account (see next section).
- Serve ads on searches.
- Target by device.
- Target by interest.
- Promote your account to people based on interests.
- Promote trends. Although, if you don’t want to commit to $15,000 spread out over three months, you’re probably not interested in $150,000 to be used in one day.
Even if you never intend to advertise on twitter, these make sense because you get some pretty powerful analytics tools once you have signed up for an account. Note that twitter approves all accounts, so you’ll want to use a handle with some history and followers.
Note that it’s a little more difficult or nearly impossible to get a twitter advertising account if you’re outside of the United States and a select few other countries. If you’re from outside these countries and are interested in twitter advertising, please let us know through the contact form below. We can also help US companies with both types of accounts.
As mentioned, when you have the main advertising account, you get much better analytics. Here’s a sample screenshot of what you get for promoted tweets, showing you an hour by hour breakdown:
If you drill into individual campaigns, it will give you even more information based on each specific tweet. What’s a real added bonus is that you get full analytics to your account that start from when you sign the contract – sorry: no retroactive. The additional account analytics give you:
- Timeline activity. See a breakdown by day of mentions, follows, and unfollows plus the performance of individual tweets for favorites, retweets, and replies. They also let you filter to just your “good” tweets (top 2/3 by engagement over the past 30 days) and “best” (top 15%).
- Followers. Really neat stuff here – get info by location, gender, and interests. You can see how users are engaging with you and the most popular tweeters that your followers follow.
- Web sites. Twitter also allows you to verify one or more of your Web properties by adding a meta tag to the home page. Once you’ve done that, you get to see information about tweets containing links to your site, although not the number of clicks on those links (though you should have that through your site’s analytics program).
The bottom line is that this information is extremely valuable and can greatly help your general, non-advertising twitter marketing.
How to Get Started
If you’re ready to start advertising on twitter – or to upgrade from a small business account to the full version, give us a call at 800.979.3177 or fill in your information below. We’ve run both types of accounts and can use our experience to help you get the most out of your twitter advertising.