This guide is designed for anyone who wants to start running Twitter ad campaigns. Simply Measured is uniquely positioned to help you plan and build your Twitter ad campaigns to ensure success and set you up in the best way possible to make the most out of your ad budget.
If you are unfamiliar with Twitter Promoted Products, read through the overview section and click through on the additional information links. If you are familiar with Twitter Promoted Products, feel free to skip the overview and start in Section 2: How to use Simply Measured to plan my ad campaigns?.
Table of Contents
Twitter Ads – A short Overview
For those of you who are new to Twitter Promoted Products (Twitter’s name for their ad platform), a short overview is required before you can jump into the other tips. If you are already familiar with TPP (the first sign would be that you successfully deciphered the sophisticated acronym TPP), then feel free to ignore this part and jump right into the “meat” of this article here.
Twitter Promoted Products were released to the public in April 2010 and offered three basic ad products: Promoted Accounts, Promoted Tweets and Promoted Trends. The concept is simple; using a bidding system, you can promote (advertise) your account, tweet or trend to a highly targeted audience on the Twitter platform.
As a starting point, Twitter surfaced the promoted products (accounts, tweets and trends) in search results on the Twitter website only, but over time moved them into users’ timelines as well as to different publishing partners (like TweetDeck).
In addition to the promoted products, Twitter developed and released an analytics solution for the ad platform that lets advertisers track and measure the performance of their ad campaigns. Later, Twitter released the analytics solution to all the users through the Twitter Ads website (https://ads.twitter.com/).
Why is TPP so different (and so good)?
In the core of its offering, Twitter has the ability to hyper-target users based on both profile attributes (username, location, gender, explicit interest, etc.) and, more importantly, behavior attributed like keywords they use in their tweets or search for, or users they follow. This hyper-targeting allows advertisers to tailor their ads to a very specific and engaged audience that other ad platforms (like Google’s AdWords) don’t have access to (AdWords offers targeting based on some of these attributes, but profile attributes, as well as that level of behavior targeting, don’t exist on AdWords).
In addition, Twitter Ads look and feel like part of the overall Twitter experience. They include a “promoted” icon, but they have to adhere to Twitter’s rules of engagement in terms of length of the tweet, usage of media, hashtags, @mentions and all other general accepted practices on Twitter. This makes them more effective at driving engagement and less likely to be treated differently than other tweets and accounts; a typical reaction on other ad platforms (click-through rates of sponsored results on Google are substantially lower than the click-through rates on organic results).
Lastly, Twitter’s pricing method is pay per engagement. Since engagement is what you are trying to drive on Twitter, the pricing structure is aligned almost perfectly with your business goals, leaving little to no space for misalignment between ad performance and business performance.
How do I get started?
Simply use your Twitter username and sign up at ads.twitter.com After you’ve setup your account, follow Twitter’s getting started check list.
How to use Simply Measured to plan my ad campaigns?
The getting started checklist includes several points you should make sure you cover before you build your first campaign (like account setup, security, etc.). Simply Measured can help you with the following points:
- Define campaign objectives
- Identify your audience
- Research your best hits
- Identify thought leaders
Define campaign objectives
What are you trying to achieve using Twitter? Are you trying to grow your audience, increase engagement, or get more visits to your website? Whatever your objective is, I recommend you write it down. I’ve found that the process of writing down an objective and phrasing it so it follows the SMART guidelines (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound) will force you to validate your objective and get you more committed to achieving it.
But what if this is your first Twitter campaign and you don’t have any reference point for your campaign objectives? This is where Simply Measured can really help you with establishing a baseline and also give you some competitive or industry benchmarks you can use as your starting reference point.
The Simply Measured approach: Use the Twitter Competitive Analysis Report
Establish a baseline using 10 different Twitter accounts. You can choose your competitors or industry leaders you admire and would like to emulate and get their performance on the following KPIs (Key Performance Indicators):
- 1. Engagement
- 2. Followers
- 3. Impressions
- 4. Brand Tweets
You can establish your goals based on the average or aim high and set goals to beat the leader, but no matter what reference point you choose, now you have one to use for writing down your SMART goals.
Map goals to specific Twitter ad products so you are positioned well to achieve them. For example, if you set an engagement goal (i.e. achieve an average of 300 weekly engagements by the end of Q2 2014), you should probably use Promoted Tweets as your go-to campaign. For Follower goals, use Promoted Accounts. For Impressions and Reach, use both Promoted Accounts and Promoted Tweets (and if you have money, use Promoted Trends…).
Identify Your Audience
Every ad campaign includes audience targeting. Twitter has very defined targeting parameters you can use to define and build your target audience in each campaign.
All three ad products have several (somewhat different) targeting parameters you can use to build the audience you’d like to target. There are two types of targeting filters: additions and limits. Additions are the targeting areas in which you need to ad parameters to expand your target audience. Those include keywords, usernames, interests and television shows. Limits are the targeting parameters that allow you to narrow your targeting. Twitter will default for the wide target, but you can narrow down the targeting by specifying the limit parameters. Those include, time, location, device and gender.
Twitter allows you to upload a list of Twitter usernames and target followers with interests similar to followers of any of those users. This feature lets you be very specific about the type of people you’d like to target (on all ad products) based on the assumption that users share common interests and are not vastly different if they follow the same users. It also allows you to target followers of competitors, collaborators and influencers.
This targeting option is available for both promoted accounts and promoted tweets.
The Simply Measured approach: Use the Twitter Audience Analysis, the Twitter Competitive Analysis Report or the Klout Influencers & Advocates Report
There are three different approaches to get usernames using Simply Measured that will help you target the right audience on Twitter (they are not mutually exclusive):
1. Look at your own followers and target users that are connected to them.
Run the Twitter Audience Analysis report (https://app.simplymeasured.com/viewer/mkljwckq68r7t3kn28w9xj5leidrcd/1396336) and export it to Excel. Click the Follower List tab and sort it by Followers. You can copy the entire list of usernames or apply certain criteria to your selection (perhaps you only want usernames that have a Klout score of over 50 or that their last tweet was in the last s).
2. Look at influencers in your industry and target users who follow them.
Run the Klout Influencers & Advocates Report https://app.simplymeasured.com/viewer/xxef958lgferej2vtt8ih8cbz5fbpc/350702 and export it to Excel. Go to the People tab and sort by your criteria selection (Klout score, Twitter followers, true reach, etc.) and copy the selected names under the Username column.
3. Look at your competitors and target users that follow them.
Run the Twitter Competitive Analysis report https://app.simplymeasured.com/viewer/2i7ewacc2ca8cxswxsgmiy8vbhf2mp/1354326 and export it to Excel. Go to the Mentions tab and sort by any criteria you’re interested or simply copy the entire username column.
Using any of these approaches will give you a wide variety of usernames to increase your reach on Twitter Ads.
Note: for a more targeted influencer list, check out the Identify Thought Leaders section.
This targeting option is available for both Promoted Accounts and Promoted Tweets.
In the Interest section of the targeting, Twitter asks you to upload (or pick) certain interests. You should think about this as the different categories you (and your audience) operate in. For example, if you sell women apparel, just type in “apparel” and Twitter will show you the categories you might find as a fit. You can then choose the one most applicable to your audience and narrow down the filter by deleting the specific interests you’re not interested in (e.g. Men’s Bag).
This is where research about your audience, your competitors and your influencers might be the most helpful to uncover topics of interest.
The Simply Measured approach: Use the Twitter Follower Report
You can uncover topics of interest using several Simply Measured reports. In most of our Twitter Reports you will find keyword analysis (which you can use for the next targeting option – Keywords), but the simplest way to get to the core topics of interest is by using the Twitter Follower Report https://app.simplymeasured.com/viewer/acpsb7gp68xdpxnb2sufahdtvmfcmu/1518532 and scroll down all the way to the Top Klout Topics to get the top 10 topics by count of mentions.
If these top 10 are not enough to get you started, you can download the report to Excel and go to the Topics tab and get the entire topic list.
Available only for Promoted Tweets, keyword targeting allows you to add or import a list of keywords to use in order to target searches or users who tweet with words you enter. This feature makes targeting on Twitter better than almost on any other network. You can choose to surface your promoted tweets on search results on Twitter search (similar to the AdWords targeting), BUT also to have it show up on users’ timeline based on keywords they actually use in their tweets. For example, if you’re running a campaign that gives away @seahawks tickets, you can target the phrase “seahawks tickets” and have it show up on both search results as well as on users’ timelines. Your promoted tweet will show up in the most relevant places for users.
More about keyword targeting here.
The Simply Measured approach: Use the Conversation Driver Analysis Report
You can use almost any Twitter Report in Simply Measured to get a list of keywords based on engagement, mentions and profiles, but your best and easiest way to get a good list of keyword that you can just copy and paste into Twitter is the Conversation Driver Analysis https://app.simplymeasured.com/viewer/jdi2w2vtupz9iq4cryjidxdug7ixb4/1258278
This report analyzes the frequency of keywords within posts on Twitter as well as other networks like Facebook, blogs, forums and comment sections. You can copy and paste the list of keywords from the report or download the full Excel file and copy the top 50 keywords on the Charts tab.
Conversations Targeting and Ad Targeting
Available only for Promoted Tweets, conversation targeting and ad targeting are part of the new “Television” targeting option that allows advertisers to promote tweets based on specific TV shows. Advertisers can use the conversations targeting (ad targeting is only available for managed accounts) and select TV shows they would like to target.
More about TV targeting here.
The Simply Measured approach: Use the Conversation Driver Analysis
Similarly to the Interests and Keywords targeting, conversation targeting can look for specific mentions of TV shows you’re interested in using the Conversation Driver Analysis report or the Twitter Account Report.
Note: Since this is a new feature, we’re still learning on usage patterns and best practices, as well as results from using this feature. We will update as we have more information.
You can start your campaigns immediately or schedule them to start in a later time. Twitter currently doesn’t offer an ongoing posting schedule where you can control the time-frame per day, but you can achieve the same result with creating multiple campaigns in advance for all the time slots you want the campaign to run. For example, if you want the campaigns to only run between noon and 4pm PDT and only on the weekdays, you can set 5 different campaigns for each day of the week and at the end of the week clone all of them for the next week.
The Simply Measured approach: Use the Twitter Account Report
To analyze your best time to tweet, we included a time analysis in several Twitter Reports, but the best one to use would be the Twitter Account Report which will give you the best hour of the day and the best day of the week to tweet based on level of engagement.
Use this report to create specific campaigns for the time frames you believe you will get the biggest return in term of engagement.
You can specify the geo-location of the users you want to target. Twitter will require you to enter a target or change the option to “Show ads in all available locations.” As you specify locations, Twitter will modify the reach estimate on the right sidebar to show you how many users you can actually reach with these filters. You can use the search bar or import a list of locations and then click the verify locations button to standardize the locations and add them to your targeting.
More on geo-targeting here.
The Simply Measured approach: Use the Twitter Account Report
In the Twitter Account Report, scroll to the bottom of the report to see the distribution of tweets based on location. We provide geo-location based on metro area as well as country.
To get more information about the geo-location, including more specific locations like city, state and even longitude and altitude, export the report to Excel and go to the Mentions tab. The geo-location information is listed on the left-most column. Other reports that include geo-location information you can use to learn about your audience location are:
- Twitter Activity Report
- Twitter Audience Analysis (time zone distribution)
Twitter allows you to limit your targeting based on devices, operating systems and wifi options (for android and iOS devices only). Similarly to the geo-targeting option, you can specify and limit the devices you want your ads to show up on. For example, if you’re online experience isn’t optimized for mobile yet, you can choose to limit your campaign to desktop only.
The Simply Measured approach: Use the Twitter Account Report
Using this report you will be able to see what Twitter clients are used for tweeting and the distribution of Desktop, Mobile and Other.
By exporting the report to Excel you can get the full list of clients and platforms and run your own analysis on what devices and Operating Systems your audience uses.
Twitter will default to Any Gender, but offers you the option to target male or female only audience.
Research your best hits
After you identified your audience and have a better idea of your current and target audience, it’s time to learn what type of content resonates the best with your audience so you can create more of it and drive more engagement.
The Simply Measured approach: Use the Twitter Account Report
The Simply Measured Twitter Account Report is designed to answer exactly those questions, so you can get a lot of information from this report. Primarily, you can learn the following:
- 1. What type of tweets (retweets, @replies or normal tweets) drive the most engagement
- 2. What type of tweet content (photos, videos, links or normal tweets) drive higher engagement
- 3. What type of engagement (replies, retweets, mentions and favorites) you can expect to see
- 4. Get examples of tweets that drove strong engagement
- 5. Keyword frequency in your tweets
This information will tell you what type of tweets you should keep posting to encourage high engagement.
If these out-of-the-box insights are not enough for you, export the Excel file and run your own analysis. The Excel file already includes all the formulas, charts and calculations, so you don’t have to start from scratch. But if you really want to build your own analysis, the entire tweet flow (the raw data) is also in the file, so feel free to geek out on your own analysis and come up with great insights on your own.
Identify thought leaders
Why is this important? Using Twitter’s own words “For every industry and topic of conversation on Twitter, there are key influencers who lead the discussion… identify the thought leaders in your industry and learn which content their followers engage with most. Join these conversations and start creating valuable content of your own.”
In addition to learn what works for those thought leaders, identifying them will help you set some goals for connecting and engaging with these thought leaders, which in return will amplify your message and increase the reach of your tweets. A good engagement from a thought leader in your industry will provide validation to your account as well as good exposure to your message.
The Simply Measured approach: Use the Twitter Activity Report
Since “Influence” is a relative term that requires context (industry, location, audience, topic), going about finding a set of influencers includes some data analysis that is beyond the basic list of names. We see influence as a combination of reach, resonance and relevancy. The influencers you want to target should embody all three of those attributes.
We translate them to the Twitter terminology as follows:
- Reach – at its most basic level, an influencer reach is the number of followers they have. Their potential reach is the sum of all their followers’ followers.
- Resonance – In isolation, it’s their average engagement per post.
- Relevancy – The keywords used in their posts in addition to the frequency of those keywords in their posts.
How can you use these to find influencers? Start by defining a set of keywords you would like to analyze to create the relevancy for your analysis. Run a Twitter Activity Report using these keywords and Export the results to Excel. On the People tab, sort by number of followers to incorporate Reach. You can stop here and just use the top 10 names on that list or try take another step to uncover resonance.
Take the top 10 (or top 20) list you found and plug them into our Twitter Competitive Analysis. Run the report to get information about their engagement levels, share of engagement and insight into what type of content will get them engaged.
Prepare for building your first campaign
Now that you did the ground work for planning your campaign, make sure that you have answers to all the questions you will need to build your first Twitter Ad campaign. You can the Simply Measured reports to answer all these questions and have a good starting point to target the right audience with the right content.
Now that you’re all setup and ready to go, jump into building your first ad campaign. Don’t have a Simply Measured account? Request access to our free trial.