Twitter ads and targeting techniques that work

by Annie Green, 27 Jul 2017

Twitter offers several advertising features for brands that want to connect with its significant user base. However, to achieve a strong return on investment advertisers need to use the right tactics and targeting tools to reach ideal prospects. The following is a look at Twitter ad strategies and targeting techniques that work.

Twitter Ads Platform

The most common and straightforward advertising option on Twitter is the "Twitter Ads" platform. If you are familiar with Google AdWords or Facebook Ads Manager, you will find the Twitter tool intuitive after updates reflect a similar interface. Twitter offers various campaign objectives to tailor to your campaign. Whether you want to gain engagement or video views, increase awareness, drive site conversions or clicks, earn new followers or encourage app-installs, the ads platform gives advertisers the opportunity to reach each of your desired objectives through these campaign optimizations. The value you get from Twitter ads depends on how effectively you pinpoint the right target audience. The way you select your targets is to identify user profiles (based on demographics, lifestyle, interests and even purchase activity) that represent your buyer persona. After selecting various audience aspects, you can further qualify your audience by targeting your followers and users who look like your followers (much like Facebook's look-a-like audiences). Additionally, Twitter offers recommendations based on handles you want to target, keywords, relevant hashtags, interests and products. After you identify targeted profiles, Twitter gives you a projection for estimated reach. This estimate helps you determine whether to expand your reach or to maintain a precise segment for a promotion.

Promoted Tweets, Accounts and Trends

Twitter also offers three "promoted" opportunities to expand the reach of your posts. These features are similar to the "boosted post" opportunity available through Facebook.
  • With "promoted Tweets", your message is distributed to users who match your profile targets in user timelines, in searches, and on the mobile app.
  • "Promoted accounts" are featured on the sidebar where Twitter recommends profiles for you to follow. The purpose of this recommended feature is to encourage you to follow others with similar types of accounts and interests. By investing in promoted accounts, you can boost your followers faster because your account appears in many more recommended lists.
  • "Promoted trends" gives you a prominent placement where users look for fresh, trending content. This tool makes more sense if your goal is to reach a somewhat large and diverse user base. Some companies use hashtags in their promoted trends.

Other Tools and Strategies

It is common to embed videos, images, and links in your Twitter ads. These tools enhance engagement for your messages. Twitter only charges for clicks on your sponsored posts, so any other engagement optimizes the value you get from your promotion. As you consider placement of site links in your Twitter ads, note that a recent study suggested placing links earlier in your message drives the highest clickthrough rates. ATT


To select the right tools and approach with Twitter ads, you need to know your objectives and your audience. If your goal is to increase followers, for instance, a promoted account campaign makes sense because it gets your profile in front of more potential users. If you want to drive traffic, though, a promoted Tweet with a link is a better move. Know the types of prospects you want to reach for your campaign as well, so you can tell Twitter with profile recommendations who to target.