A Beginner’s Guide to Twitter Ads

Twitter advertising debuted in April 2010 and revolutionised the way we think about paid ads. Twitter co-founder, Biz Stone, didn’t believe that traditional ad formats worked for Twitter and wanted to take a less intrusive approach by showing users ads that they’re more likely to engage with and in a way that still keeps Twitter’s accessibility at the forefront. With Twitter ads generating leads at one third of the cost of other marketing channels, they are now an essential part of a brand’s eCommerce marketing strategy.

They began with promoted tweets, which are essentially normal tweets that can be interacted with in the same way as any other but have a clear label of sponsored so users know what they’re dealing with and advertisers can demonstrate their intent. Promoted tweets soon evolved into promoted trends, promoted accounts, and conversion tracking. Get started and learn about how to set up Twitter ads with our Beginner’s Guide.

  1. Types of Twitter Ads
  2. How Much do Twitter Ads Cost?
  3. Twitter Ad Specs
  4. How To Set Up A Twitter Ad
  5. Twitter Ad’s Best Practices
  6. Summary

Types of Twitter Ads

When Twitter cards were introduced in 2012, they opened a new realm of ad formats due to them allowing users to employ a variety of media such as movies, photos, apps, and products. Choosing a format all depends on which works best for your paid strategy.

Promoted tweets

The main difference between promoted tweets and normal tweets is that the advertiser is showing content to users not already following that brand on Twitter whereas with normal tweets you will see them if you follow that user or brand. Otherwise, interactions are the same, you can like, retweet, and comment on both styles of tweets. 

Promoted tweets will also show a ‘promoted’ label in the bottom left corner to make users aware and they can appear on your timeline, profile, or in the search results.

Twitter ads promoted tweets  example

Promoted accounts 

Promoted accounts are the way to go if you want to expand your audience. You can promote your whole account to people who haven’t found you yet, in timelines, search results, and ‘who to follow’ suggestions. 

Promoted trends 

Trending topics are a key feature of Twitter and what really sets it apart from other social channels. It’s a list of the most popular topics and hashtags being discussed in real-time and you can get your brand or a product onto this list using promoted trends. 

Similar to promoted tweets, promoted trends can have the same interactions as you would a normal trend but it’s highlighted as promoted and will show in one of the top spots on your ‘For You’ section. 

As of 2020, you can also have a trend spotlight that features at the top of the trends list – using a video, gif, or image to further highlight your brand – these allow 2 visits per person, per day before they are moved back to the standard promoted trends placement.

Twitter ad promoted trends example

Promoted moments 

A Twitter moment is a way of getting a story across, you can collate similar tweets together enabling you to override the usual 280 character limit, and promoted moments enable a brand also to use an automated feature where Twitter will group the tweets for you and automatically promote them in ‘promote mode’. 


Videos can be used all over the Twitter ad landscape, including in ‘Amplify’ ads where you can promote your brand with a 15-second video before other brands’ or users’ longer content.

How much do Twitter Ads cost?

It’s quite straightforward; they cost whatever you want. There is no minimum expenditure for Twitter advertisements, so you can spend as little or as much as you like to promote your campaigns. You can set up a daily or total budget where Twitter will automate the expense, similar to other social ad networks.

The cheapest format to run is a simple promoted tweet with a normal range of between £0.50 to £3 per action. If you’ve never used Twitter ads, this is a good place to start as you can learn about your Twitter audience, whilst spending the least amount of money.

Twitter Ad specs 

The specifications of the media or text you used in your ad are important especially if you want users to see your ad, exactly as you planned it. While it is dependent on the ad type, the following applies to all relevant ads:

In terms of image and video sizes:

How to set up a Twitter Ad 

1. Ad format 

The first step to any campaign, choosing which style ad you want to run. Whether it be promoted tweets with video or imagery or a promoted trend, choose the format that best aligns with your business needs.

2. Campaign objective 

Next up, is your campaign objective and it’s one of the most important steps as it aims to be the desired outcome of your campaign. Twitter has a variety to choose from:


Reach – increase the number of people the ad will reach 


Website Clicks – Drives traffic directly to your website 

Engagement – Maximises the number of engagements per post, from likes to retweets Followers – Maximise the chance of increasing your follower count 

Video Views – Get people to watch your videos 

Pre Roll Views – Pair your ad with premium content 

App installs – Maximise the number of app  installs 


App Re-engagement – Make people take action and interact with your app

Twitter ad objectives

3. Fill in campaign budget details 

Daily or total budget? Do minimum and maximum spend? Start and end date? There are multiple things to decide when it comes to choosing your budget for your campaign. If you’re a smaller business, setting a total budget is the best option, it keeps you on track and allows Twitter to evenly distribute your funds. You can also choose your funding source from a credit card to a debit card. 

4. Create an ad group 

The ad group is the place to create multiple ads under one campaign. You can be more specific with your budgeting here or choose a total ad group budget which is the easier route if you have multiple ads running in one campaign. 

5. Choose your audience

Choosing your audience is critical for ensuring that your adverts reach the proper demographic and as many individuals as possible. Twitter’s targeting is slightly different from that of any other ad platform with the inclusion of the ability to identify an audience based on conversation themes. 

Twitter ad audiences

6. Choose your ad placements and creatives 

Now it’s time to think about the aesthetics, such as where your advertising will appear and which creatives will be displayed. You can feature in the feed, home timeline, profiles, trending, and search results, among other places. The Twitter Audience Platform is an extra Twitter placement option that allows you to show your ads to users who use a variety of sites or apps other than Twitter.

7. Check and launch your campaign 

Finally, you get a chance to review the campaign to ensure that it is precisely how you want it before publishing it.

Twitter Ad best practices 

Getting a captive and consistent audience on Twitter is difficult, but there are a few steps you can take to ensure your ad campaigns are engaging and profitable:

Eye-catching creatives

In a sea of tweets, a well-designed creative goes a long way to grabbing the attention of your audience. According to Hootsuite, Twitter is the 9th most visited website globally so there is a very large audience to cater for. Choose contrasting colours, easy-to-read typography, and creative visuals to design a stand-out visual.  

Twitter ad image example

Mobile optimisation 

Twitter ranks as the 6th most popular mobile app, so optimising your ads for mobile is imperative. When choosing which media to use, along with using the correct specifications, ensure that the full ad is visible when viewed on mobile devices.

Using appropriate hashtags 

Hashtags are Twitter’s conversation starters, users can find your tweets by searching anything you’ve used in hashtags, you’re also more likely to reach the trending list if you make use of the right hashtags. 

Don’t employ hashtags that have nothing to do with your brand just to be on-trend. The contentious ‘beans on Weetabix’ tweet by Weetabix sparked a major commotion on Twitter, with all companies attempting to join in the topic. This is an excellent example of how to use hashtags effectively; just make sure they match what your brand is promoting.

Twitter ad brand example

Use different ad features 

Polls, buttons, and customised hashtags can all be used in Twitter ads. Polls are a perfect method to start a dialogue while also learning more about your ad audience, allowing you to target them more effectively in the future. 

With buttons, you either have conversational buttons or link buttons to direct users to any landing page on your website. 

Split testing

A/B testing is the perfect opportunity to test multiple ideas on your audience. Change up the material you use, the length of your text, and the Twitter ad formats you use to discover what works best and gets the most engagement.


Twitter is an underutilised ad platform but one that you should certainly be considering when it comes to your paid social campaigns. With a unique audience available to tap into, when done well, Twitter ads can yield brilliant results. 

With approximately 290.5 million active users monthly, you’re missing out on a huge potential market to expand into, so get started on your Twitter campaigns now with us. 

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