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How to Create an Effective Twitter Ad

How to create an effective twitter ad

The preferred social media platform of politicians, comedians, and journalists, Twitter will always have buzz going for it – enough so that its place in our cultural zeitgeist is secure, even though its audience (about 300 million monthly active users) remains tiny compared to that of Facebook (2 billion MAU) and Instagram (700 million MAU).

Still, Twitter has long been an invaluable tool for marketers; in addition to boasting a well-connected, media savvy user pool, Twitter users are particularly active and dedicated, with many users reporting that they log on to the micro-blogging site (or a connected platform, such as Tweetdeck) multiple times a day, often from mobile devices.

And beyond its audience, the very nature of Twitter makes it a perfect tool for marketing; its image- and text-heavy post structure makes the Tweet a perfect delivery mechanism for ad copy; meanwhile, Twitter’s long-standing ability to catalog and sort trending topics makes it ideal for social listening and monitoring, while its interface also makes it a great vehicle for addressing customer questions, complaints, and feedback.

We’re going to focus on Twitter as an ad platform today. While it sometimes gets lost in the paid social advertising conversation, particularly when held up in comparison to Facebook, Twitter offers brands a number of powerful and sophisticated advertising tools, with a proven track record of success – in fact, some studies say that Twitter ads are demonstrably better at generating and converting leads than Facebook ads!

What can your brand do to ensure that you’re getting the maximum results out of your ad spend on Twitter? Here’s how to create a highly effective Twitter ad:

1.) Choose a Type of Ad Campaign

First, it’s important to realize that there are multiple ways you can pay to advertise your business on Twitter, including:

  • Promoted Tweets: These are individual Tweets that you hand select to distribute to a wider group of users’ feeds, helping expand your reach and secure fresh audiences.
  • Promoted Account: When you promote your account, you pay for Twitter to recommend your brand’s profile to users by displaying your information on various parts of the web page, encouraging new audiences to follow you.
  • Promoted Trend: When you buy a trend, you essentially pay Twitter to help facilitate conversation around a central topic, typically based on a hashtag that you create.
  • Ad Cards: Most brands are going to focus on creating ad cards (also called website cards), which are customizable, clickable ads that direct users to the landing page of your choosing, and which Twitter automatically slots into users’ feeds after you purchase them.

For the rest of this article, we’re specifically going to be discussing how to optimize a campaign that uses promoted branded Tweets, complete with ad cards.

2.) Fine-Tune Your Copy

While selecting the image for your website card is important, the text that makes up your headline, call to action, and Tweet copy is also vital.

Here are a few ways that you can make sure that you’re optimizing your Tweet copy for maximum impact, every time:

  • Write with urgency: Create a reason for immediate action, and you’ll encourage users who may otherwise be on the fence to click through and engage with your brand.
  • Use numbers: People love to see percentages and hard, quantifiable numbers in ads; don’t be afraid to keep your message punchy, though – think along the lines of messaging like “we’ll increase your leads by 200%” or “get 10% off with our promo code…”
  • Avoid hashtags: While hashtags can be great for encouraging engagement on a Tweet that you’re hoping to be discovered organically, they’re unnecessary on content that you’re already paying to distribute to a select audience. What’s more, a hashtag reads like a hyperlink to many Twitter users, who may click on it, instead of on the website card that you’re trying to promote.
  • Be conversational: Users hate brand speak and jargon, but they love it when you write on their level, use a clear voice, and present your pitch in the form of a question.
  • Make your call-to-action clear: Specifically, we mean that your call-to-action – in addition to using direct address and active verbs – should actually align with the outcome you want. That is to say that if your card links to an informative blog post or white paper, use language that reflects this, such as “read more;” if you’re onboarding users for a new app, consider “get started now,” or, if you’re soliciting sign-ups for a digital newsletter or event, try “register now.”


3.) Refine Your Targeting and Bidding Strategies

Once you’re happy with the look and language of both your website card and the body copy that surrounds it, the next step is to decide who’s actually going to see your ad. There are two factors to consider here – targeting, and bidding.

Targeting, first off, is the process by which you narrow down the audience for your promoted Tweet, selecting the ideal users for your brand (e.g., those most likely to care about your message and, by extension, take action with you).

Like Facebook, Twitter offers a number of sophisticated targeting options; in addition to selecting users who already follow you, Twitter allows you to build a custom (or “tailored”) audience using an email list or some other CRM list. Even better, you can also use Twitter to target new users, establishing your audience based around keywords, user behavior, device usage, user interests, and geographic location.

Once you’ve selected your target audience – making sure to cover all of the basics (location, language, and device) – you then select your budget and bid strategy; most users simply let Twitter allocate their cost-per-click budget by selecting “Automatic Bid,” the default option.

Brands looking for a greater level of control can opt for other bidding options, including targeted bidding (which may generate better leads, at a greater cost per click) and maximum bidding (which allows you to reach more of your  targeted audience, at a greater cost overall). For most, though, automatic bidding will do the trick; it’s efficient, and is more likely to result in you staying firmly on budget.

And with all of this in mind, it’s also vital that you keep a close eye on your analytics, to see if you’re getting the results you set out to attain. If not, you may need to adjust your approach, whether that means pausing an under-performing campaign or redirecting your resources toward the strategies that are generating the sorts of conversions you want to see.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with any or all parts of your Twitter ad strategy, including your call-to-action, your targeting, and your bidding – when it comes to digital marketing, a little trial-and-error can go a long way!

Have any more questions about getting started with social ads on Twitter or Facebook? Our experienced social media team is here to help! For guidance or to set up a free consultation for your brand, don’t hesitate to drop Geek Chicago a line today!

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Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).