Twitter is a great place to market your business, and you can certainly use it for free. Lots of people have made big fortunes using Twitter as one of their primary marketing channels without spending a dime, however, the nature of social media requires a lot of time and effort invested to get good results if you don’t want to spend any money. After all, time is money.

But if you don’t want to spend so much time on Twitter, you can spend a little money and skip the huge time investment. Even if you enjoy Twitter, you can reach more people with advertising, expanding your organic reach through selective targeting.

In this guide, you’re going to learn how to create highly effective Twitter ads, and to get the most out of the platform, no matter what you’re advertising.

So let’s begin.

Getting Started

Before we get started, you might want to go ahead and sign up for your Twitter ads account at:


This will let you kind of follow along and look at some of the features in your account as we discuss them, which helps you understand how the different features work a little better. You can always do this later if you want, but I recommend doing it now. This will just take a couple of seconds if you already have a Twitter account.

Twitter has been working on new elements for its advertising platform for a while now. By the time you read this, they may have added or removed features.

These are the options that you can choose from as far as the different types of ads you can run. You need to be sure you choose the right type of ad for your business’s purposes, not just the one that’s least expensive or seems to get the most traffic.

Let’s take a look at these different ad types.

Website Visits

This, of course, will get your visitors to your website. You can include a “Website Card” which is a preview of your website that shows up directly in your Tweet. You are charged per click for this type of ad.


This is pretty self-explanatory. You can buy followers. Any impressions or engagements you get as a result of this campaign don’t cost anything. If you just want to increase your follower count, this is an easy way to do so.


This campaign is priced based on impressions, not results. For this reason, you should only use this type of campaign on Tweets that have already been proven to work through some other method, because you don’t want to pay for impressions to an ad that may not perform.

Tweet Engagements

With this type of campaign, you promote individual Tweets for the purpose of getting engagement. You don’t have to pay for impressions unless they result in engagement, and you will not have to pay for organic engagements from users who see your Tweet like normal instead of through your promotion.

Remember that even promoted Tweets must still adhere to the same 140-character limit that regular Tweets must follow, so you’ll want to be as succinct as possible.

Video Views

If you want to promote videos, GIFs, vines, etc., you can use this type of ad to do so. You pay for impressions of your video, and the video will auto-play as users scroll in order to get more attention.

Website Conversions

This is similar to the Website Visits ad type, but instead of just paying for clicks, you can track conversions. You can include a Website Card of this type, as well.

App Installs or Re-Engagements

If you have an app, this is the type of ad you’ll want to use. You can use this to get people to install your app for the first time, or to get people who already have your app and haven’t used it in a while to use it again. You can include an App Card in this ad type, which will let you show a preview of your app, plus the app’s ratings in the Tweet. It also gives users the ability to open or install the app with a single click.

Setting Up a Campaign

When you’re ready to set up a campaign, it’s pretty easy. You’ll need to choose the type of ad campaign you’d like to use, name your campaign, and set up tracking and the dates you want to run your ad. Tracking (via DoubleClick) is optional, but recommended.

Next, you need to choose your targeting options. You can target by location, even down to specific postal codes, by gender, language, device, platform, and even their cellular service carrier!

You can also, of course, target by interest, behavior, etc. This lets you choose specific keywords based on what users Tweet about and things they are interested in.

After this, you have to set up your budget. You can choose a daily maximum (which is required), and also a total budget (which is optional).

Then you have a couple of options for setting your pricing. You can either bid automatically or set your bid price manually by using their recommended bids for each type of campaign. Automatic bidding is the easiest option, but you may notice spikes in pricing that leave you with a nasty surprise later, so you will want to keep an eye on your campaigns if you choose automatic bidding.

Finally, you have to choose your creativity. You can promote existing Tweets or create an entirely new one for your ad, including adding media.

Then just click “Publish Tweet” to launch the ad, and you’re done!

Creating Effective Ads

As you probably know, it’s not enough just to run an ad. Any type of ad must be optimized well for maximum conversions. Let’s take a look at some ways to get the most out of Twitter ads.

Tweet Length

Remember that a Twitter ad must fit within the 140-character limit (unless you’re using an ad format that doesn’t publish a Tweet, such as Followers). This means you must be concise with your ad. Say what needs to be said, but don’t go overboard.

Studies have shown that the most effective promoted Tweets have between 120 and 139 characters. So try to say what you have to say in a reasonable number of characters, but don’t keep it too short.

Use The Right Words

There are certain words that you can use in Tweets to increase your response. They’re a lot of the same words you may have heard work well in sales. Words include:

  • You – You is one of the most popular words in sales because people want to know how things benefit them. Focus on what you have to offer your potential customers.
  • Free – This one is obvious. People love free.
  • Now – Now provides a sense of urgency, making people feel they need to respond right away. You can also use hurry, quick, limited, while supplies last, or other similar terms.
  • New – Anytime people think they can be one of the first to try something, it makes them happy.

Don’t Include Prices

If you want people to re-tweet your ads, don’t include prices. Ads with prices are 30-35% less likely to be liked and re-tweeted. So unless your prices are so low they are unbelievable, leave them out.

Use a Specific Landing Page

Try to make a landing page that fits specifically with your Twitter ad, because you’ll leave users with a much more favorable impression if the Tweet matches the landing page.

For example, if you have a promo code for Twitter users, create a special landing page that has that promo code on the page so it matches your ad.

Include Images or Cards

Ads without images or cards included getting much less attention. Make sure you attach an image to your ad or use a website or app card as appropriate.

Ads with images or cards are several times more likely to be liked and re-tweeted.

Target Like A Boss

Targeting is definitely one of the most important elements of running an ad, but Twitter makes it WAY easier than some places.

For example, running an ad on Facebook can be a nightmare in some subject areas, because there’s literally nothing available to target. The best thing you can do is target something slightly similar. For example, if you want to target a very specific type of novel reader (in a genre that isn’t big enough to have its own “interest” or any authors that are traditionally published and popular enough to be targetable) on Facebook, the best you can do is target people who read a similar genre. Not very effective.

But on Twitter, you can target by #hashtag, by interests, by the TV shows they watch, and (best of all, perhaps) you can even target a specific user’s followers! That means you could, for example, find several people in your genre and target all of their followers! Super effective!

It should be relatively easy to figure out how to target your particular product since there are so many options for targeting, but you may want to run different ads based on what you target. For example, if you have a retro-style video game you want to promote and you want to target fans of Pac-Man and fans of Donkey Kong, you would want to use two different images and two different forms of ad copy to adjust the ad to what you’ve targeted.

Targeting the fans of your competitors is probably one of the most effective ways to reach the audience you need to reach, so that’s a great place to start. If you don’t have any competition to target, such as when you have a product that is so new or innovative there’s no true competition, you can target complimentary accounts. For example, if you created a unique kitchen tool, you could target accounts like Food Network and Food & Wine Magazine.

Twitter has a great article on targeting best practices here:



Twitter ads can be remarkably effective if you are careful with your targeting and your ad creatives. You may want to experiment with different combinations until you find the ad that gets the best result at the lowest cost, but once you do you may find Twitter outperforms other platforms for the price.

Don’t forget to use some of the techniques you’ve learned in this guide for creating more effective ads. Use images, use the right words, don’t include prices. These tips will help you create ads that will get results.

Don’t forget to check out Twitter’s targeting best practices, as well. They have some very good tips for helping you find just the right methods for targeting just the right audiences.

I wish you the best of luck with your Twitter promotions!