Try These Twitter Ads Best Practices
For More Conversions

Johnathan Dane
Johnathan Dane

We live in a freakin’ sweet time to be digital advertisers.

There are so many options, channels, and creative ways to hit our goals.

Not to mention, powerful ways to actually track if things are working.

Sorry traditional media.

But with new territories, come new challenges.

If you don’t know what the best practices are, then you may get fearful and decide to never pull the trigger on any new advertising channel.


traditional media

Your best bet is to never do anything new – image source

And, since any paid management channel requires money, you should make sure you know how to use it first before you’re stuck with empty pockets.

So today, I want to talk about my absolute favorite AdWords alternative. That one social media network with the bird.

You know, Twitter.


twitter ads popularity

That’s a pretty steady interest in Twitter ads.

While you sometimes won’t get a ton of “I’m ready to buy!” leads or sales, Twitter works really well when you give the audience you’re targeting something of great value (isn’t that always how it works?).

This means that for you to get your foot in the door and get contact information from prospective leads, or any conversion for that matter, you have to create something they’ll love, also known as your lead magnet.

So that’s exactly what we did.

We created an in-depth guide on 32 ways you can use AdWords and conversion rate optimization to drive more phone leads.

I knew that many of our prospective clients are either marketing heads at certain companies or individual business owners who value phone leads over any other type of lead type there is. 

And honestly, there’s not a ton of helpful info on the web on how to get more of them. So we created a 60 page guide about it.

Then for our Twitter ad campaign, we decided to use that guide as our lead magnet, full of ideas to spark sharing and made it visually so good looking that most of our Twitter ad comments came from people who really liked our guide design and accompanying landing page optimization.

They didn’t even look at what’s in the guide yet!

Our result? An 18% download conversion rate on the first landing page attempt.

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 5.57.39 PM

In addition to that, we also got a few Twitter followers and people who are now engaged and actively reading things from our email list.

Not bad for a first run that cost around $200.

The great thing about Twitter, is that it allows you different targeting options and ad display options. In fact, there are multiple different ways you can advertise with Twitter.

For this post, and to cover some Twitter ads best practices, we’re going to cover the first five ad campaign options you have.

Shall we?


#1 – Followers

Is your goal to grow followers like when you bought fake fans on Facebook?

Just kidding, this is actually the legit way to get more social proof on Twitter.

It’s been shown that 47% of followers are very likely to visit your site or landing page, and even more so when you’re promoting tweets to give them more value.

A best practice here (and for all the Twitter ad campaign options) is to create a unique campaign for each Twitter profile (company Twitter profile for example) you choose to target, to then target the followers of that Twitter profile.

Let’s say we wanted to gain more followers from Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, and Search Engine Watch. To do so, we’d create three unique campaigns, each targeting the followers of the respective company Twitter handles.

This will allow you to set individual budgets depending on performance and not have everything lumped into one campaign where you can’t change anything.

You can also decide to import multiple @usernames (at least 500) to target your ads to or target interests (like vegans) or upload your own email list or cookie your visitors to retarget to them.

Phew! Quite a bit to learn and digest right?

The good thing is that the Twitter ad dashboard is extremely intuitive and quick to set up.

Once you’re done with deciding on who to target, you get to choose your geographic and device targeting.



#2 – Website clicks or conversions

This one is pretty straightforward. You’re essentially trying to get Twitter users to go on your site or landing page to convert.

This is the targeting method we chose to push our guide. You remember that example right? Okay good.

Let’s say that you’re a software CRM business and you want to get your Twitter ad in front of people who follow other bigger CRMs out there in hopes of getting them to switch.

You’re best bet is to create promoted Tweets that hits on the pain points a user has with Salesforce, Infusionsoft, or Zoho for example.

Then you’ll want to create some different ad images and split test your visuals along with your text.

Depending on the type of campaign you go with, you can use this cheat sheet to figure out what image dimensions you should use.

Here’s an example of what @Exploratorium’s website clicks or conversions Twitter ad looks like:


twitter ads 101

You can decide what your call to action button says too – image source

#3 – Tweet engagements

If you’re used to AdWords CPC, CTR, Ad Rank, etc, then Twitter’s performance metrics might throw you off a little bit.

The performance strength of a Twitter ad is calculated through a metric called “engagement”. Tweet engagements are things like favorites, retweets, clicks, and responses.

The higher your tweet engagement, the longer Twitter allows your ads to run without slowly letting them die.

One thing to keep in mind for all your Twitter campaigns is always to accompany an image with your promoted Tweet.

We as humans process visuals 60,000 faster than text, so it should come as no surprise that promoted Tweets with images also get higher engagement rates.

How high?

Like, over 2x engagement rates.

Here’s an example of AdRoll’s Tweet engagements from a Twitter retargeting ad they used:


twitter retargeting

You may even uncover some secret admirers – image source

If you’re goal is to spark conversations and have your interesting (emphasis on the interesting) topic shared throughout, Tweet engagements may be your best bet.



#4 – App installs or engagements

Do you have an app that’s freakin’ amazing but lacks users?

App installs or engagements would then be the way to go with your Twitter ads.


app twitter ads

This is what app ads look like – image source

The same targeting options are available for you with App installs like the other Twitter campaign options.

The biggest difference (but obvious difference) is that you have to link your App’s iTunes or Google Play link to connect the Twitter ad to your app’s destination.

After that, you’re able to split test different messaging and visuals to get the highest conversion rate for app downloads.

The app @GetTaxi was able to use this Twitter ad channel to get a 30% lower cost per install compared to other mobile channels, and, 34% more app registrations per install compared to their average.


twitter app ads

There’s some inside joke I don’t get here – image source

This just goes to show you how intent and engaged the Twitter community can be when you have something they’ll be interested in.

Only have your app created for iOS? No problem. Simply decide to not target Android users.



#5 – Leads on Twitter

The great thing about Leads on Twitter is that you can choose to only pay the first time a user submits their information through the Twitter lead generation card, not when they engage with your Tweet (you’ll  pay for engagements with the other Twitter ad campaigns).

If your goal is to get newsletter subscribers, then this is a very friction free way for your target audience to convert. Just look at how Rock/Creek did it:



Not a bad incentive for people who love the outdoors – image source

You’ll notice that in the screenshot, you only get name and email info, no other info is given to the advertiser. Is that enough info for you to make money? Only you can answer that.

Ryan Deiss, a well known digital marketer found that Twitter was his cheapest lead channel when compared to other available channels.

He found that the best way for him to get leads was to lead with education. Free case studies, videos, and training were part of his best performing arsenal, and that brings us back to the point of giving your prospects value so good that they can’t refuse it.

Once you decide that Leads on Twitter is the way to go, you then have to decide what kind of targeting criteria you want to work with. 


Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 10.23.10 AM

We’ve yet to use TV targeting. But that day will come.

Again, pretty straightforward. But remember to create unique campaigns with unique targeting setups.

Lumping things together will make it difficult to granulate perfomance and make improvements.

Every targeting option will perform differently and you don’t want to have some things perform positively and others negatively and then have them cancel each other out.


Some Things To Keep In Mind

Are you amped and ready to get your first Twitter campaigns live? Not so fast turbo!

First, a few house rules when it comes to Twitter ads best practices:


Don’t Use #Hashtags

No matter how big the temptation, don’t use #hashtags in your Twitter ads.


Because it allows people who see your ad, click on the hashtags, and then get distracted from what your goal is – to get them to convert. 


twitter ad hashtag

Mega fail StrongLoop. No wonder you only have 3 favorites.

It also doesn’t help you get more impressions by using hashtags this way.


Audience Exclusions

It may be hard for you in the beginning to figure out what target audiences you need to exclude, but I highly recommend you test it out once you’re up and running.

This is especially useful when you don’t want to continually target people who have already converted.

Or maybe there’s a subset group within your target audience you want to hit, but not the people who also follow company @XYZ.


Always Use Conversion Tracking

Twitter ads didn’t always offer conversion tracking, but now they do.

Please remember to take advantage of this and know how your campaigns are performing. Tweet engagements won’t necessarily make you more money, especially if you can’t track the money being made from conversions you aren’t tracking.

What Twitter ad best practices have you found to work well? Need help? Hire us as your pay per click agency