Do Twitter Ads Really Work? (And How to Get The Most Out of Them!)

Do Twitter Ads Really Work

This post originally appeared on Single Grain, a growth marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition, by Peter Boyle.

The marketing world can be pretty confusing, right?

We all want the best results, but it’s hard to know whether you should focus on the current model of content marketing, e-mail campaigns (the king of ROI), or the social crowd (Twitter, Facebook, and other social media networks).

The list goes on and on. Every year new marketing methods spring up and with them a new set of gurus who vehemently defend that particular approach as the best thing for taking your business to the next level.

Rest easy, I’m no guru and I’m not going to push a new marketing method with some terribly hyperbolic sales pitch on you. What I am going to do is examine one of the more popular marketing approaches that has not only outlived many fads, but has adapted to the times.

I am, of course, referring to paid advertising.  

The act of paying a third party with better visibility or larger distribution to promote your business is as old as marketing itself. But one of the reasons paid advertising has remained so popular is that it’s managed to adapt with the times.  

Technological developments have enabled marketers to set up and implement a campaign in next to no time, and the data that’s available from these campaigns makes getting the most out of your campaigns easier than ever before.  

One of the more recent developments, and the one I’d like to focus on in this piece, is how paid advertising has crossed over into the world of social media.

Large numbers of people use social media in their day-to-day lives. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other networks each attract anywhere from hundreds of millions to billions of monthly users. With such a huge user base, social media is the ideal platform for you to increase the reach and visibility of your business.

While all networks share some common features, getting the most out of each with a paid campaign is an entirely unique effort. This article is going to focus on how to get the most out of your Twitter paid ad campaign.  

Read More: The Complete Guide to Gmail Ads (How We Got $.10 CPCs & Leads As Low As $7)

I Understand Paid Advertising, But Why Bother with Twitter Ads?

I know what you’re thinking.

Paid ads are great and all, but is Twitter really the best option? I mean, if you’re set on a paid social media ad campaign why not go with the big fella—Facebook?

I can’t argue that the reach Facebook offers is greater, quite a lot greater in fact!

Do Twitter Ads Really Work?

But as folks are given to saying: size isn’t everything. Yes Facebook might be bigger, but Twitter has a few little gems that make it a pretty worthwhile contender for your attention.

What really makes Twitter worthwhile is its effectiveness.

Call me old fashioned, but if I’m running a paid campaign, I’m most interested in the financial side of things. I want to know how much it’s going to cost and how great the ROI is. As such, I’ll track:

  • Conversion rate
  • Cost per conversion
  • Overall cost

You might notice how I’ve completely omitted a few favorites.

As far as I’m concerned, CTR, impressions or any of the other favored metrics don’t affect your bottom line and as a result shouldn’t be your focus. They’re still important and will play an important role in optimizing your campaigns, but your primary focus should always be on how it affects the company’s bottom line.

And it’s here that Twitter excels.

A couple years ago there were a number of studies conducted on the effectiveness of paid advertising on different networks. Below are the results for lead gen from Optify.

Do Twitter Ads Really Work?

Studies also point to Twitter dominating the mobile space. A pretty big deal considering that 2015 saw the first instance of mobile browsers exceeding their desktop counterparts.

Do Twitter Ads Really Work?

But this was a few years ago; surely the faster growth of Facebook has skewed these results and left Twitter in the dust, right?

Not according to this study by Yotpo, which found that Twitter still has a higher conversion rate and average order value.

Do Twitter Ads Really Work?

Twitter may well be smaller and have a more limited reach than Facebook, but that hasn’t stopped it from pulling ahead in the metric that counts: conversions.   

The question, then, is how to ensure that you’re seeing the greatest conversion and revenue gains with your Twitter ads.

Step 1 – Decide on a Campaign

What do you want to achieve with your Twitter advertising campaign?

That should be the first question you ask yourself. Admittedly it’s pretty broad and can encompass a lot. Thankfully, Twitter’s selection of campaigns should help you decide on what next steps are best for your needs.

Upon logging into the Ads dashboard you’ll be greeted with the below:

Do Twitter Ads Really Work?

Here’s how each campaign breaks down.


As you’d expect, this campaign is aimed at increasing your Twitter following. The cost for the campaign works on a cost-for-follow basis, meaning that you only pay when you gain a new follower.

The ads appear in two different formats depending on whether you include a tweet or not. Those who don’t will have an ad that looks like this:

Do Twitter Ads Really Work?

And those that do will have an ad that looks like this:

Do Twitter Ads Really Work?

This is a great option for new businesses on Twitter but it’s not really the best option for an established brand. If you’ve been around a while, there are plenty of other smart tactics I’d recommend over paying for new followers.

Web clicks or conversions

This is one of the best options for those looking for quick traffic or conversions. The parameters you set when establishing the campaign define the audience that will see these tweets. The tweets you create are accompanied by a ‘learn more’ button which redirects them to your website or landing page.

Read More: LeadPages CEO Clay Collins Talks About How To Ramp Up Your Conversion Rates – Up To 75%! (podcast)

Do Twitter Ads Really Work?

Tweet engagements

This is one of those options that’s really only useful if you’re looking for an incredibly engaged audience. It’s not a bad campaign by any means, but it’s not necessarily going to have the same impact on your bottom line.

Aside from the obvious benefits of increasing reach and visibility, this campaign can be a goldmine for marketers doing a little audience research.

Ask a question to which you need to know the answer so that you can optimize your marketing and promote it. More people will see it and, on top of the retweets and favorites, you’ll get some great answers to help hone your approach.

App installs or re-engagements

Got an app? Want more people to use it? Then this is the campaign for you.

This campaign puts a direct install link on your tweets so the prospects you’re targeting can quickly and easily install the app at the touch of a finger.

Do Twitter Ads Really Work?

The great thing about these ads is that you’re not going to waste money through dumb folks on desktop computers clicking the install button. These ads are only displayed to Twitter users on mobile.

Leads on Twitter

Twitter offers an easy sign-up procedure that integrates with many of the popular e-mail marketing services. You’re able to include a lead generation card in your ad which then adds the prospect directly to your list.

These are great. They not only contribute to a meaningful metric (the money’s in the list, right?), but they abolish the need to fill out a form. With these, your prospects literally just click a button.

Video views

This is a relatively new feature.

Twitter will promote your videos to targeted customers. What’s key to note here is how they charge. According to their info page, they consider “a chargeable view as 3 seconds of playback in 100% view in the timeline, or a click to watch in fullscreen/unmute — whichever comes first.”

Do Twitter Ads Really Work?

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Of course, video is well known as being an incredibly engaging and successful form of content. However, you’ll need to keep an eye on whether that three-second rule is ruining your campaign budget.

Reaching the Right Audience

Remember, this campaign is costing you cash. You’re going to want every click you pay for to have the best possible chance of converting into a paying customer.

The biggest mistake marketers make with PPC campaigns is going on gut instinct. You might know your product better than anyone else and you may well have some pretty kickass audience personae mapped out, but that doesn’t mean that you can implement your targeting without doing a little research first.

The targeting parameters with Twitter Ads aren’t going to present anything you haven’t seen before.

Do Twitter Ads Really Work?

The only things that may surprise veteran marketers are the specificity of the locations (seriously, you can target specific postal codes which is great for local businesses!) and perhaps the option to target by TV show preference.

The rest are pretty run of the mill so I’m not going to waste time with a redundant explanation of what location is or how to target followers of larger related accounts.

Instead I want to quickly touch on how to get your campaign off to the best start. Not by targeting those you think might be interested in whatever it is you’re offering, but by using the data of those who have already converted.

Your Google Analytics account has a wealth of information to get your campaign off to the right start. to begin with, you can pull interest data straight from GA as is. Organize this data from highest-converting interest category to lowest and you’ll have a great starting point for your interest-targeting Twitter Ads.

Do Twitter Ads Really Work?

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You can do exactly the same to pull pertinent information for other key demographic information.

After you’ve done this you’ll want to find the keywords that convert on GA. You should already have tracking set up on GA so you know the exact behavior of those who convert and the revenue they bring.

The next thing to do is implement this custom report created by Griffin Roer over on KISSmetrics. The report will show you your landing pages organized by organic searches. Again, filter this by conversion rate to know which landing pages have the highest conversion rate.

Do Twitter Ads Really Work?

Make a note of the top-converting landing pages before heading over to Webmaster Tools. Open Search Traffic > Search Analytics and use the filter option on pages to find the highest-converting pages outlined in the above GA report.

Do Twitter Ads Really Work?

Once you’ve filtered by your top-converting pages, click on “Queries.” This will bring up a great list of the terms that garner the highest number of clicks on Google.

Do Twitter Ads Really Work?

These terms, while from organic results, obviously appeal to the segment of your audience that converts, so they’d be a good starting point for you in your targeting.

Once you’ve done the whole GA thing, you’ll want to supplement and cross reference the information with the engagement rates that your Twitter account is already receiving.

Your next stop is over on Twitter’s Analytics suite.

There are lots of visually impressive results in Twitter’s Analytics dashboard, but more often than not they’re just a visual representation of your audience. I’m not aware of any way to track conversions unless you’ve already set up Twitter’s conversion tracking. Something that very few people I’ve spoken to seem to have done.

Read More: 13 Quick Tricks to Increase Conversion Rates that You Can Do Right Now

However, you can track which of your tweets gained the highest engagements by clicking on the “Tweets” heading in the menu.

Do Twitter Ads Really Work?

Ignore the pretty graph at the top of the page, scroll down, and click on “Top Tweets” and you’ll find a list of your tweets with the highest engagement rate.

Do Twitter Ads Really Work?

Copy the text from your top tweets and cross reference them with your GA data. Doing so should help you understand the kind of copy that resonates well with your audience.

If there’s a keyword or phrase that pops up across both platforms regularly, it’s likely that it’s going to grab attention and convert those users into list subs or paying customers. Use it in your keyword targeting and in your Tweet copy.

Always Have a Specific Landing Page

Over 80% of Twitter users access the platform through mobile. If you’re redirecting users to a landing page on your site, make sure it’s optimized for the device and OS they’re using.

Do Twitter Ads Really Work?

There’s nothing worse when on mobile than clicking a link and finding yourself on a page optimized for desktop. Links are too small to click with a finger, copy gets cut off by the smaller display, and the whole process just seems to run sluggishly.

These little annoyances are enough to put anyone off converting. Target your ads to appear only to those on mobile or desktop, but ensure that the links within those Tweets link to pages that are optimized for that audience.

You’ll also want to target ads and have specific landing pages for:

  • Operating system
  • Browser
  • Demographic differences
  • Behavior

It seems like overkill, but the best way to ensure a higher rate of conversion is to provide an ultra specific and tailored experience.

You’ve got to ensure that the page you’re directing people to is perfectly optimized for their needs and behaviors.

Final Thoughts

Twitter often seems to get overlooked simply because it doesn’t have the reach of Facebook. But studies clearly show that it’s an incredibly effective platform for gaining a higher level of conversions.

Implementing any form of paid marketing strategy shouldn’t be done without thorough planning. Before you pay for your campaign to go live make sure that you’re not only comfortable with the way Twitter Ads works, but also feel confident that you know exactly who you’re targeting.

Have you used any other methods to help better target your Twitter campaign? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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