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Twitter Advertising Opportunities For Success

Looking to connect with your audience in a fresh, meaningful, and profitable way? As a marketer, of course you are! Whether you’re a novice (worry not, you’ll get up to speed in no time) when it comes to advertising on Twitter or it has been quite some time since you’ve last had your hands in the dashboard, there are a number of opportunities worth exploring that you may find quite helpful in reaching more people and accomplishing your goals. Keep reading for a breakdown of some ways you can utilize Twitter Ads to succeed.

Campaign Type Variations

Twitter Ads launched back in April of 2010 and campaign types back then, as you can imagine, were quite limited. Previously, there were only three options to get in front of users; promoted tweets, promoted accounts, and promoted trends. Today, we have a wider variety of options to choose from depending on your goals. Here are the most current campaigns types you can set up:

  • Followers – If you’re looking to grow your community on Twitter, this is a great option to tell users why they should follow you. Run ads that share something relevant, useful, or interesting to entice Twitter users to follow your account. With this type of “promoted account” your ads will be displayed in user timelines as well as in suggestions for “who to follow”. With this type of campaign, I typically encourage clients to use the smallest portion of their budget, as others have a stronger call to action, obtain user data, or drive users directly to your website and would have a higher ROI. The others below would benefit from having a larger portion of your budget to work with. While this type is helpful in growing your fan base,  it doesn’t usually drive immediate users directly to your site.
  • Website Clicks or Conversions – If your goal is to drive traffic to your website and increase conversions such as purchases or sign ups, this campaign type is most excellent. Here, users will see your ads in their timelines and in Twitter search results. In addition to doing this, set up retargeting campaigns so that you can continue marketing to those who may not complete an action on your site that you were hoping they would from your ad.
  • Tweet Engagements – Perhaps you’re looking to reach more people and drive engagement rates through retweets, replies, and favorites. This option is fantastic for increasing conversations happening around your tweets. With this, your audience will see tweets in their timelines and in Twitter search results as images or Twitter Cards.
  • App Installs or Engagements – Many users view Twitter on their mobile devices. If you want to drive conversations and downloads, use this option to get people to open or better yet, install your mobile app. As you would expect, this ad type is seen only in mobile timelines. As an extra bit of advice from personal positive ROI experience, test a strong call to action such as “DOWNLOAD” or “INSTALL NOW” in the copy of your promoted tweet.
  • Leads on Twitter – Lastly, if your mission is to collect emails from users who express interest in your business, this is an effective way to acquire leads. To launch this type of campaign, a lead generation card must be first set up, which doesn’t take long and the UI to do so makes the process quick and painless.

Bonus Targeting Criteria

In addition to targeting by location and gender, you may also target users by keywords, usernames, if they are on a brand new device or carrier, TV markets (country, shows, networks, genres), or even by interests, and behaviors. Talk about an exciting collection of targeting options!

Newer to this collection are interests and behaviors. Interest options vary from beauty, education, careers, family, events, life stages, pets, technology, and more. With behaviors, you can target around automotive, finance, lifestyle, retail brands, seasonal, and other behaviors which break down further, as seen here:

I find it particularly interesting that you can target by new devices or carriers. By doing this, you can reach users who use Twitter for the very first time on their new mobile device or carrier. Within this option, you can also include and exclude people who qualify for this within a certain time span, such as in the last month. If you are marketing a mobile app, this would be a perfect opportunity to get in front of a user who just purchased a new device and would more likely be interested in downloading some new apps.

Retargeting Multiple Ways

Lastly, if your users don’t initially convert, it’s not a lost cause. With Twitter Ads, there’s not one, but two ways to do retargeting; directly from Twitter through tailored audiences or through a third party provider such as AdRoll. For instance, say you are a mobile app company, people have been clicking and opening your app through other campaigns, but haven’t yet installed your app. To set up retargeting directly through Twitter Ads to acquire more app downloads, add tailored audiences through the “Tools > Audience Manager” drop down in the navigation, and then in your new campaign set up,  click on “Add Tailored Audiences” to select your web or mobile app list, but be sure to exclude people who already downloaded your app so they don’t continue seeing your ads. If your list size is small, you can also expand to reach similar users under audiences in your campaign to add more volume.

If you are working with a third party provider, you will have to place retargeting tags on your website to begin collecting users. Your third-party account manager will usually take care of synching audiences to Twitter from their end. All you then have to do is go into your Twitter Ads UI and create a new campaign and add the audience “from the web” that will show up under tailored audiences. If you plan to set up both types of retargeting campaigns via Twitter, set up separate campaigns to better track performance and budget, as they may vary.

There is plenty of room to get creative, reach the right people, and get them to convert. While sales may not always happen on the first click, social ads are still an important part of the funnel. Your audience is most likely there, give it a go and get in front of them by using Twitter to test out a campaign or two.

Harness the Power of Twitter Lists

Hoover Dam-Harness Power of Twitter Lists

photo credit: susteph via photopin cc

Flowing water contains a tremendous amount of energy, and with a hydroelectric dam that energy can be harnessed to generate electricity. Likewise, you can harness the energy of the overwhelming amount of information and communications on Twitter for business purposes, like building key relationships and finding prospective customers, with lists.

What are Twitter Lists?

Generally speaking, Twitter lists are lists you create or subscribe to and are organized around a general theme or group of people. They help you organize accounts you really want to follow so you do not miss tweets and can be private or public. You do not have to follow the accounts to monitor them in a list. However, if you add them to a public list they will be notified. Private lists do not generate the notifications.

Types of Twitter Lists to Create

The types of lists you can create are only limited by your imagination. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Clients* – Monitoring your clients can help you anticipate their needs, inspire new products and services and answer their industry questions.
  • College and community/business group organizations – Many alum and local association members are more than happy to help make connections and referrals.
  • Competitors* – Knowing what your competitors are doing is always wise. Insights can come from inferred information. Don’t just add the official accounts but also add key executive accounts. Because you are not actually following them, they will not be notified of your observation of their feeds.
  • Event / conference attendees –  Developing relationships with other attendees can lead to business opportunities. If you want to meet certain people, they often state their location so you can intercept them or specifically ask to meet. Also, following top tweeters allow you to better follow the event.
  • Helpful resources for customers – Create a list you think would interest your customers. For example, if you are an accountant to small businesses, you can create a list of small business resources. 
  • Industry colleagues – Following others in your industry provides an ongoing education, tips and insights into trends. Also, the relationships built can provide business referrals and collaborations.
  • Industry sector* – Instead of viewing only direct competitors, you can look at a larger industry slice.
  • Location-based list – Sometimes you want to focus your efforts on a particular geographical area. For example, I have lists for Dallas/Fort Worth and Tennessee experts and colleagues in my field.
  • Prospective clients* – Anyone you wish to approach to become a client would be in this list. Reviewing the tweets in this list will provide you with information about their needs and how best to approach them. You can add them to a private list without following so they do not know of your interest before you are ready.
  • Thought leaders / experts – Adding these people to a list provides multiple benefits: education, access and an ego boost to the added people.
  • Vendors* – Key management changes, acquisitions, supply or plant issues and the like can impact your ability to run your business. If your company is ISO certified, knowing information about your vendors becomes more vital.

The asterisked lists are the ones I would recommend you keep private. As relationships develop, people can be moved from one list to another. Remember you do not have to actually follow an account to have it in a list, and only people and companies added to a public list will be notified. 

Take Twitter Lists Further

Did you know you can subscribe to other people’s public lists? You can. Let them do the heavy lifting of curating them. Look for people and brands you respect or are interested in to see their lists. Then, subscribe to them.

Also, include your account in your public lists. That way people who subscribe to them will also see your tweets. This technique is especially useful on lists where you can act as an expert or business solution.

Last, promote your Twitter lists on other social media platforms. Each list has a unique URL. Use an eye-catching name like My Favorite [insert topic].

How to Create a Twitter List

Now that you know what kinds of lists you want to have and who to add, it is really easy to create them. Under your header photo, click on Lists and choose “Create a new list.” A pop up box will appear where you can enter the list name and an optional description and choose whether the list is public or private. You can then go to an account’s profile to add it to your list. Click on the “gear” icon for a dropdown menu to select “Add or remove from lists.” Your collection of lists will be shown for you to check which list(s) to place that account in. You can even create a new list on the fly in this pop up box. Once you have accounts in your lists, you can go to Lists and view the feed for an individual list. That’s so much better than scrolling through everyone’s tweets.

Now that you have your lists in place, you can start monitoring them for various types of information and use them to engage with people you want to get to know better or convert to customers. I hope they are as useful to you as they have been for me. Without them, I would have missed out on numerous new client and collaboration opportunities.

Twitter Is Beta Testing Promoted Video

Twitter is becoming more visual with the introduction of beta testing of a new Promoted Video with select content publishers and verified users. Twitter’s initial testing shows tweets containing native video generate better engagement and more video views.

Promoted Videos are an extension of the Twitter Amplify program. Along with uploading and distributing native video on Twitter, advertisers will be able to measure the reach and effectiveness of their campaigns with full access to Twitter’s robust video analytics like completion percentage and organic vs. paid video views.

Tony Hawk Promoted Video gif

Twitter has switched to a Cost Per View (CPV) ad buying model. Advertisers will only be charged when a user starts playing the video.

Twitter claims the goal of these Promoted Videos is to “…bring more video into our users’ timelines…” However, if that was the sole point, they would be focused on users employing video, not advertisers. Advertisers are increasingly willing to spend higher prices for online video. According to eMarketer, US digital video ad spending will nearly double in only four years to a projected $8.04 billion in in 2016.

US Digital Video Ad Spending-eMarketer

If you have a Twitter advertising account representative, then you can contact that person to get on this beta launch. Otherwise, you will need to set up an advertising account first and then talk with an account representative. Agencies are already reporting surprising success with Promoted Videos.

Beware the Fake Social Media Guys

I have been talking to a friend of mine for a few months now about social media off and on for their new career venture. They have a new busines starting up and are trying to do all the new social media things right in making this successful. Sad to say, they made a bad decision in choosing a social media person who promised them thousands of followers and fans. Yes, this person lived up to the contract in getting Twitter and Facebook to show big numbers in their audience. However, the social media person cheated my friend by giving them an audience of fakes and ghosts.


A few days back my friend had shared with me that they now had a twitter audience over nine thousand followers. Which they were quite excited over. I, however, was immediately skeptical. My friend just started up this business. Yes, there were some other partners and all have had prior careers to pull an audience from, but there is no way that amounted to a number like that. Could it?

They had been told too by the social media person that they had pushed their profile to people who are interested in their industry. Really? I am still amazed by those numbers.

My skeptic self got the best of me and I ran their Twitter profile through an application called Status People Follower Check and discovered that 99% of their followers were fake. With 1% being real. Now that gives an actual audience of 91ish, which is a good start and good motivation to try and build your followers list some more. Personally I would much rather know the real people interested in my audience than sift through a few thousand fakes profiles.

Fake Social Media

Fake Social Media

I looked at their followers a bit more carefully, just to see the common behaviors of these fake accounts. Two glaring commonalities:

  1. They have little to no tweets, most had zero tweets
  2. They followed some thousand plus people, but had little to no followers of their own. Both were red flag numbers again.

Next step was to look at Facebook. On their insights you can see the massive amount of followers that built up overnight with nothing else to show for it. There is no interaction by the fans. It is as if any of your sharing is talking to the wall.

Fake Social Media

Fake Social Media

My cautionary tale is this. Do not fall into the trap of paying someone for thousands of fans overnight (just as you shouldn’t pay for overnight SEO results). What you get is a total scam product. Building your audience takes time and energy and you don’t need to get so desperate with the numbers to go out and spend hard earned money to create an audience full of mannequins.

Love on and communicate with the people that you have and more will follow, naturally, and with a real heart beat and passion for what you do.

Establishing Social Authority

(This article was originally posted on as part of the Social Signals in Search series.)

Rankings have long been affected by authority and, historically, authority is often measured by inbound links to a website; meaning that the more quality links a site has, the more that site is considered an authoritative site.

Although, link building is still a large part of SEO, we now have to consider social media authority in search marketing because, as I have discussed in prior posts, social media has a direct effect on search engine rankings

Companies with higher social media authority can gain more ground in search engine rankings by building strong social profiles and followings.

Multiple factors go into determining social authority including: 
  • Number of replies or comments
  • Automation vs. manual
  • Relevancy of messages
  • Association with other online groups

Tips to Earn Social Authority:
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating a strong profile and to get the most out of social media.

1) Automate minimally.
Some automation in social media is okay, but it has to be supported by manual intervention and monitoring.

2) Associate with people who will share.
If you are connected to people that are interested in your topics, they are more likely to share your updates.

3) Mix it up and be entertaining. 
Don’t be predictable with your sharing, add a mix of photos, questions, comments, and post things that encourage interaction.

4) Don’t overexpose the message.
You know that annoying commercial that you see on TV or that person that posts the same content over and over … don’t be that.

5) Meet IRL.
Meeting in real-life with people makes a personal connection. People are more like to share your information if they know you on a personal level. It’s old-fashioned networking.