“Twitter Ads are a great form of exposure for your brand and can be used to promote time-sensitive events”

Twitter’s advertising feature became available to non-US companies in November, proving to be an effective marketing strategy for SMEs.

Previously, companies not based in the US had to develop a working relationship with Twitter in order to buy adverts on the site, which limited the site’s customer base to large companies. So how does it work now?

“If you can Tweet, you can advertise on Twitter,” said Ravi Narasimhan, a product manager at Twitter. “All you need is a Twitter account and a credit card. You’re in control of your ads, the audience you want to reach, and of course your budget. Best of all, you will only be charged when people follow your Promoted Account or retweet, reply, favourite or click on your Promoted Tweets. You are never charged for your organic Twitter activity.”

And with 60% of tweeters viewing their feeds via a mobile device (such as a smartphone or tablet), Twitter Advertising is different to other forms of advertising. An eMarketer study forecasted total ad revenue of $950 million this year, with more than half generated by adverts seen on a smartphone.

“Twitter advertising is different from most of the online advertising options out there, with elements of cost-per-click, display and social media ads allowing advertisers to grow their business in 140 characters or less. Like other social ads, advertisers can form a relationship with consumers directly where they can engage with and share marketing messages,” says SEM strategy consultant Lisa Raehsler.

“Ads become part of the discovery process on Twitter with ads appearing in content and integrated into the user experience. They appear to be more relevant since they are shown using targeting techniques that focus on interests, similarity of the followers, geography and more,” she adds.

She also notes that a unique feature to Twitter advertising is the fact that users can engage “on multiple levels” with the ad – they can click on links, reply to the message, retweet, share or favourite it.

So how can your business actually use Twitter Advertising to glean new followers, promote events, sell your products and services, and funnel traffic to your website? Here are some tips to getting started:

Think about what you want to promote 

Twitter Ads are a great from of exposure for your brand and can be used to promote time-sensitive events (think discounts and freebies) and grow your followers. With the feature, you can promote both your account (this will help you grow relevant followers – your account will be suggested to them), promote your tweets (this amplifies your message) or even promote your hashtag trends (these will scale to the top of the trending list – there will be a promoted icon next to it, however). Promoted trends can stay on the top of the list for a whole day, creating significant buzz around your brand.

Use the ad targeting function

Ad targeting has also grown in the past year, becoming more behaviour driven. As you target your ads, the estimated audience size will appear on the right-hand side of the Twitter screen. You can narrow down your target audience through interests, followers (adding a list or singular name), keywords, geography, gender and custom data. This list is sure to grow even more.

Control your ad spend

Anxious about how much you could spend on social advertising? Twitter has inbuilt budget and bid settings, allowing you to select a maximum level that you can’t exceed. Twitter recommends setting your bids at $1-2 to get started, but understand that more competition will drive actual costs higher. If under a tight budget, set your bids low and gradually increase them to conserve budget.

Track conversions

Use an embedded code conversion tag so you can get an idea of how many people view or engage with your brand as a result of Twitter-promoted content.

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