Twitter Advertising: A Guide for Marketers

During the past year, Twitter has made significant improvements to their platform and objectives capabilities, making it easier for businesses and marketers to target, measure and manage campaigns at scale.

Today, we’ll share some tips on how to leverage the improved changes to help maximize performance at every stage of the funnel using Twitter.

It’s All About Targeting and Segmentation

Last week we published an article highlighting Twitter’s robust targeting capabilities. The article emphasized different ways to create and manage a brilliant Twitter campaign. Today, we’ll expand on the two major points: targeting and segmentation.

We will also show you how to leverage the power of Twitter’s advertising objectives, and which objective you should be using to capture users at the right time, at the right place, and how to push your customers through the buying funnel in a highly effective manner.

What is the Purchase Funnel?

The purchase funnel simply illustrates the theoretical journey an user takes towards the purchase of a product or a service. The funnel has 4 major stages, commonly known as AIDA: Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action.


 Now that we know how the funnel works, let’s get started.


The beginning of the journey. The goal during this stage is to make the user aware of the existence of your product or service.

As an advertiser, you should be focusing on using one (or all) of the following Twitter objectives during this stage:

  1. Awareness
  2. Website Visits/Website Cards

Awareness objective

The Awareness objective allows advertisers to reach more customers and drive better awareness for their brands. This objective was launched back in October 2016, replacing the old Qualified Impressions objective. Keep in mind, this is the only CPM based objective that Twitter offers, therefore you will be bidding per 1000 impressions.

Website Visits

This is one of the most commonly used objectives. Using this objective in combination with a website card can significantly help you generate awareness and drive traffic to the site.

The Website Visits objective should be present during each stage of the purchase funnel, but your audience features and targeting criteria should significantly vary for each of the stages.

During the awareness stage, we recommend overlaying your Website Visits campaigns (using website cards) with three audience features: keywords, interest, and followers. These features are great to generate awareness and help you to maximize your reach.

It is important to keep your campaign quite broad during this stage, as generating awareness is your primary goal.  Advertisers should keep this in mind when developing keywords and interest lists.

Followers Objective

This is a great way to generate exposure and introduce your business, services, and products to new users. This is also one of the most effective ways to amplify your message.

Under this objective, you pay only for the followers you gain and you aren’t billed for other types of engagements.

Lastly, Follower objective campaigns are also a good way to increase your audience size for your remarketing campaigns, which in most cases are only used and present during the Desire and Action stages.

#Bonus: First View

Mainly used for larger product launches or other big initiatives, First View allows advertisers to take promoted video on Twitter to another level with a takeover solution.

How It Works:

When a user first visits Twitter either in-app or in a web browser, the top ad slot in the timeline will be a promoted video from the advertiser. This allows the advertiser’s promoted video to be the first ad impression on Twitter and giving the advertiser exclusive ownership of this premium inventory for 24 hours.

Image Source: Twitter Blog

Image Source: Twitter Blog


Target users that are actively expressing an interest in your product or services.

During this step, brands should focus on building a greater audience based on users that have similar behavioural patterns as your current customers, and reaching users that have expressed interest, in one way or another, in your product or service offering.

There are two ways to reach these specific users onTwitter:

  1. Leveraging the power of Lookalike audiences by using your current audience as a base to reach new users with similar behaviour.
  2. TV Targeting

For a guide on how to create and leverage Lookalike audiences, see our previous post on Tailored Audiences and Lookalikes.

TV Targeting

TV targeting is a key component for generating interest, regardless of your brand having any exposure on TV. This targeting solution helps to align your brand to a TV conversation, with or without your own video assets.

There are two ways you can create and develop a TV targeting campaign:

  1. Mirror your TV media buy strategy
  2. Use your own data

Let’s talk about using your data!

Most brands already have a post-click and web analytics tool in place, of which Google Analytics and Omniture are the two of the most commonly used, and of which can provide you with robust data sets that can be used to create a proper TV targeting campaign.


You are the marketing director of an online clothing store. You and your team have noticed that the vast majority of the traffic are coming to your site are visiting the sports apparel, and fashion sections.

Now, using a simple insight like the one above, we can create two separate campaigns using TV targeting:

  • A Sports campaign targeting: SportsNation, SportsCenter, Rogers Cup, etc.
  • A Fashion campaign targeting: Fashion Rocks, America’s Next Top Model, etc.

The more data that you have at your disposal, the more granular you can get with this targeting criteria. Keep in mind that in addition to specific shows, you can also select entire networks (e.g. SportsNet or CBC) and genres (e.g. Sports, Movies, Reality)

#ProTip: Always use Lookalike and TV Targeting with Website Visits Objective (leveraging Website Cards).

Desire & Consideration

This is the time to reinforce your relationship with your customers.

During this stage, most users have already developed a favorable disposition towards a specific brand, product or service; though they can still be persuaded by other brands.

Here there are two different products (besides Website Cards) that can help you drive the conversation with your current customers:

  1. Conversational Ads & Tweet to Unlock
  2. Promoted Tweet Carousel

Conversational Ads

A format exclusive to Twitter, Conversational Ads allow advertisers to reinforce their brand and start conversations with customers at scale. It is perhaps the most effective way to engage and interact with your customers through Twitter.

How it Works

This ad format comes with call to action buttons and customizable hashtags that encourage users to engage.

Advertisers have the ability create a pre-populated brand message accompanied by the creative and hashtag buttons, making it simple for users to then retweet your message. Once the user has engaged with the Tweet, they will receive a “Thank You” message by the brand.

Source: Twitter Blog

Source: Twitter Blog



Conversational ads also come with a new feature called the Instant Unlock Card. The new Instant Unlock Card incentivizes users by offering access to exclusive content after the Tweet is sent (e.g. Exclusive video, a new trailer, personalized videos). In other words, users get something in return when they engage with your content.

Source: Twitter Blog

Source: Twitter Blog

#ProTip: When using Conversational Ads, make sure you have a compelling image (or video), and take full advantage of the multiple call to action buttons.

To learn more about conversational ads and the Instant Unlock card please visit the Twitter official blog

Promoted Tweet Carousel

Promoted Tweet Carousel is a product that is currently in beta and was first spotted during the summer of 2016. The new ad unit gives marketers a rich canvas for storytelling using original, sponsored or endorsed content, so you can think about this product as your own digital and interactive book.

How it Works

Promoted Tweet Carousel allows you to create Tweets within a single swipeable ad unit. Advertisers can Tweet videos, images or text from their own Twitter handle and can also combine with original content from influencers or other people – however, you need to be granted access by the creator of the original Tweet.

Making use of these units will help you to reinforce your relationship with your current user base, and push them down the purchase funnel.

#ProTip: Users are more receptive to a message when coming from someone they know, like and trust. Giving the users the ability to become your brand ambassadors will not only reinforce your relationship with them, but can also help you generate new business. Therefore, always try to incorporate these two units within your marketing mix.


The user is ready to take the next step towards purchasing the chosen product or service. It is all about generating leads, high value traffic, and conversions.

 Remarketing is typically the most powerful way to engage in conversation with brand loyalists, make the most out of your marketing campaigns, and get users to take a final action.

There are two ways to implementing a remarketing campaign using Twitter Ads:

1. By using Tailored audiences, through:

  • Uploading a list
  • Using the Twitter Tag
  • Co llecting your mobile app users

2. By using Tweet Engager Targeting

Though there are several ways of creating Tailored Audiences (e.g. email addresses, mobile phone numbers, etc.), we will only be focusing on audiences that are collected through the Twitter tag.

The Universal Website Tag (UWT), which allows advertisers to create Tailored Audiences, track conversions, and micro-conversions, all with the same code. The UWT is rule-based, therefore, you must pre-define all audiences using the “Exact URL” or “URL Contains” rules.

The more traffic you generate towards your site, the larger your audience will be. This is in part why the Awareness, Interest and Desire stages are important; they not only help move people down the funnel, they are also helping you to collect and create a pool of users that you can later retarget in a highly effective manner.

Segmenting your audience is equally as important as collecting it. Pre-defining your audiences prior launching your campaigns will help you maximize your remarketing activity. (Please visit our previous blog to learn more about Tailored Audiences and segmentation.)

Now, there’s also another way to create an effective remarketing campaign, without having the necessity of implementing a pixel or uploading a list: Tweet Engager Targeting.

Tweet Engager enables advertisers to reach users who have viewed or engaged with your organic or promoted posts. The users will remain eligible for up to 90 days post engagement, and 30 days post exposure.

Here are 4 key benefits of using Tweet Engager Targeting:

·         Reach your most responsive audience on Twitter.

·         Easy Execution

·         Follow up with users that have already expressed interest in your product or services

·         Build loyalty with those who engage with you online

#ProTip: Leverage the power of sequential messaging (e.g. show people who engage with you a “sale” video, a “50% off” ad/coupon later that week, etc.)

Final Thoughts

Long gone are the days when Twitter was only being considered as an awareness platform. Nowadays, Twitter can play a critical role at every stage of the purchase funnel, from lifting your brand awareness and intent, to generating leads, traffic and conversions.