5 Tips to Create Engaging Twitter Ads (+ Step-By-Step Set Up Instructions)

Bridget Poetker
Bridget Poetker  |  February 15, 2019

Whether you’re expanding your current presence or starting from scratch, advertising on Twitter can be a game-changing addition to your social strategy.

Looking for something in particular about Twitter ads? Here’s a preview of what we’ll cover:

What is a Twitter ad?

Twitter ads are a great way for marketers on the platform to reach a greater audience outside of their followers. With Twitter advertising, you can encourage website clicks and conversions, grow your following, increase tweet engagements, and more.

Why should I use Twitter advertising?

According to Brandwatch, Twitter had 326 million users in 2018. Think about the massive amount of people you could potentially get your message in front of in a place they are already visiting.

TIP: Check out more social media statistics you should know in 2019.

Twitter ads are subtle because they are simply a promoted version of the content that already exists. Alternately, other social media advertising platforms, such as Facebook, allow you to produce completely separate content for promotion.

Advertising on twitter also offers marketers cost-effective targeting options. No matter what the ad’s objective is, you only pay when an action is taken, not per impression. Now, you can also retarget Twitter ads to reach people who have previously been exposed to or engaged with your promotions.

Tips for successful ads on Twitter

With these recommendations and minimal elbow grease, you’ll start seeing results with your Twitter ads. To give you some context, I’ll include an example of each tip in action.

1. Keep your call-to-action simple

With a limited amount of characters, and our similarly limited attention span, it’s important to get to the point. But, you want to stand out from the crowd (remember that 326 million users stat) so don’t be afraid to get creative. For example, you can stay above the noise with appropriate humor, depending on your messaging, of course.

Subway funny tweet

2. Feature educational and how-to content

We’re all familiar with Tasty by Buzzfeed, the 15-second cooking videos. That’s because we all stop and watch them as we scroll through our feeds. People are interested in learning, even subconsciously. If you can give a quick overview or demo, you’ll grab attention.

Twitter for business explainer tweet

3. Use clear images

This may seem obvious, but it needs to be said. Twitter ad size specifications vary depending on the type of ad. Make sure you have the correct dimensions for your creative visuals.

Zipcar beach image tweet

4. Avoid hashtags

Usually. Hashtags can be distracting. On top of that, it could encourage people to click on the hashtag to see other mentions of the phrase. Now, here is where the “usually” rule comes in. If you’re running a campaign with a specific hashtag, then it’s OK because it will increase your engagement. In most other cases, try to stick to your message and keep people on task.

Casper clean bed tweet

5. Offer something of value

This could be anything from a PDF download to cold, hard cash. Incentivizing people to engage with your ad is an easy way to win them over. Try to break down whatever barriers are stopping people from taking the next step.

Showtime offer tweet

Step-by-step guide in Twitter Ads Manager

Let’s create an example Twitter ad campaign together.

1. Set up Twitter ad account

From the profile dropdown, select “Twitter Ads” to get started.

Here, you are prompted with two options. Based on the description, choose the one you feel best fits your needs. For this walkthrough, we will go ahead with Twitter ads.

How to start a Twitter ad

2. Choose objective

What goal are you hoping to achieve with this Twitter ad campaign? Here is the full list of possible objectives:

  • Awareness: maximize your reach with promoted tweets
  • Followers: grow your audience on Twitter
  • Tweet engagements: get in front of the audience most likely to start a conversation
  • Website clicks or conversions: increase traffic from Twitter to your site
  • App install/re-engagement: encourage downloads by promoting your app
  • Video views: increase the number of times videos are viewed
  • In-stream video views (pre-roll): include your video as pre-roll before relevant publisher content
  • Quick promote: Set it and forget it, the solution if you don’t have time for a full, objective-based campaign

Twitter ad objectives 

In this example, we’re going to select Tweet engagements. On the next page, you’ll name your campaign. Personally, I like to create a naming convention such as Objective_Creative_Month.

Step 2 choose Twitter ad objective campaign details

3. Ad group

Ad groups keep you organized, allowing you to run several ads to distinct audiences, even with different budgets, all within one overarching campaign.

  • Campaign level: select a single objective (like engagements), date range, total and daily budgets
  • Ad group level: set the budget, targeting details, and placements
  • Ads level: create your tweets, keep in mind the system automatically optimizes the best performing creative within a given ad group

Twitter ad campaign structure(Source:Twitter)

On this page, you’ll build out your ad groups. If you plan to have multiple ad groups, give them names that will help to distinguish the difference, such as the featured art. You can choose to set ad group budgets, but if you leave this section blank the system will refer back to the Twitter campaign budget. To create the next ad group, simply click the “copy ad group” button located on the right. Notice, that when you add ad groups, the tree on the left-hand side grows for easy navigation.

Step 3 Twitter ad groups

4. Bid type

Advertising on Twitter is auction based, meaning marketers bid against each other for placement. The system takes two equally important aspects of your ad into account — how much the advertiser is willing to pay, and the quality of the ad compared to others targeting similar interests. The quality score consists of three factors, including resonance, relevance and recency.

The ad score is then calculated by multiplying the quality score and the bid. In order to win auctions, you must have a competitive bid as well as a high-quality ad.

There are three types of Twitter ad bids:

  • Automatic bid (recommended for new advertisers): ads run automatically and are optimized based on Twitter’s algorithm
  • Target bid (only available in follower and website click ads): ads run based on an automatically optimized daily average cost per bid that meets or beats your competitors
  • Maximum bid (helpful for experienced advertisers): ads run for maximum visibility based on how much you are willing to pay per action and will never overspend

Select your desired bid type from the dropdown menu on the ad group page. Note, you can have different bid types for each ad group, so make sure to check all of your ad groups before continuing on.

You’ll notice additional options at the bottom of this page. You can add an audience measure tag only if you have an existing relationship with a 3rd party Audience Measurement solution. If you use DoubleClick Campaign Manager to track conversions, toggle on to integrate the tools. To learn more about this feature, click the blue question mark next to it.

Twitter ad group additional options

5. Define your target audience

Selecting an audience is perhaps the most important step in creating a Twitter ad campaign. Who are you trying to reach? You can target by a variety of different factors, including basic areas such as geography and demographic information, or more in-depth options, such as the followers of another account of interest and personal behaviors.

New feature alert! Twitter also offers Tailored Audiences, which utilizes Twitter pixel to collect and track users who have visited your website to serve retargeting ads.

From the first dropdown, you can choose to include or exclude your saved audiences. If you want to target similar users to your target audience, check the box below the menu. Fill out your desired demographic information in the next section.

Twitter ad target audience

In audience features, select events, behaviors, interests, conversation topics, follower look-alikes, keywords, movies and tv shows that might pertain to your target audience. The audience summary callout on the right-hand side of the page will start to populate as you add these features. You can import keywords and follower look-alikes, too. Twitter also offers recommendations for additional topics based on what’s popular to people matching the demographics you chose.

Twitter ad target audience features

Again, you have to do this step for each ad group you’ve created. If you are trying to A/B test only the creative, save yourself some time and copy the ad group after you’ve finished the targeting section instead of before.

6. Creative & Placement

In addition to the tips for Twitter ad creative I listed above, you have to think about ad placement. Where does it make sense for your target audience to see this ad? Keep in mind, depending on your chosen campaign objective, certain ads can only be used in certain locations.

All possible Twitter ad placements include: in searches, in users’ feeds, on profiles and tweet detail pages, and the on Twitter Audience Platform. The Twitter Audience Platform is simply a network of mobile applications and websites that may not be owned by Twitter, similar to traditional display advertising. 

Step 6 Twitter ad placements


Select which tweets you want promote. You can filter by your organic tweets, scheduled tweets and promoted-only tweets. Remember, you can have multiple creatives within one ad group. Choose your placements on the right.

Twitter ad creative list

7. Launch Campaign

It’s go time! If your campaign looks ready for the world, go ahead and get it out there. Be sure to double-check your copy for typos and budgets for extra zeros. You can do this all in the review window.

Launch Twitter ad campaign

See all of the campaign and ad group details in the ‘review and complete’ section. You can also save a draft anytime throughout the process and the system will pick back up where you left off.

8. Monitor

For the most successful campaigns, you should check in and tweak the campaign as it rolls out. You can make adjustments to see what’s working and what’s not. Each target audience is different and sometimes it requires some testing to get it right.

In Twitter Ads Manager, you can see the status and stats of all of your campaigns. Don’t worry, you can filter down the results to make it easier on the eyes. You can also see your promotion history. Click on the campaign actions button in the top right corner to edit, copy or delete your campaign.

Twitter Ads Manager dashboard

Congrats! You’ve successfully created a Twitter ad.

Want to learn more about Twitter?

Check out our articles about upping your Twitter marketing game or how to build out your social media marketing strategy. 

Bridget Poetker
Author

Bridget Poetker

Bridget Poetker is a senior content marketing specialist at G2. Born and raised in the Chicago area, she graduated with a BS in Advertising from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In her free time, you'll find Bridget in the bleachers at Wrigley Field or posted up at the nearest rooftop patio. During the 8 months of Chicago winter, she hibernates.