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Twitter Advertising for Dummies4 min read

4 min read

Croud’s Business Development Manger, Kris Tait (@Kristphr) talks us through Twitter’s advertising platform, the type of ads available and how it works. 

Last week I got the opportunity to speak to Twitter about their advertising platform for businesses, turns out it’s pretty good! And since I pretend to know everything about twitter, I thought I’d better get up to speed on the advertising proposition.



Twitter, the social network that was founded in March 2006 was set up by @jack and has grown to over 200 million monthly active users. That’s 400 million monthly active eyeballs, ready for you to hit with advertising.

The thing that’s a bit different to other Ad platforms is this doesn’t really take away from the user experience or the twitter ecosystem. The Ads just fit right in and can be brushed over with a flick of the finger.

How does it work? Let’s start with the basics. I’m sure that most people assume that Twitter advertising is all about sponsored tweets, as did I last week but it can be correctly referred to as ‘Promoted Products’. These Promoted Products can be broken down into; Promoted Accounts, Promoted Tweets & Promoted Trends.

Promoted Accounts

If you’re a regular Tweeter then I’m sure you’ve noticed the ‘who to follow’ section on the left of your home page? These are both organic and promoted accounts and are suggested based on the people you already follow. Twitter’s algorithm looks at your followers and if the account that’s advertising relates to you there is a good chance you’ll see an ad (as below);

They can appear in 3 places. As part of the ‘who to follow tab’ on your home page, on the ‘who to follow page’ or in the ‘people search results’. They are an ideal format for ramping up followers and you can pay on a cost per follower basis, simple but effective. With the average follower costing you between £0.70p and £1. Twitter recommends using over a longer period of time for sustained growth.

Promoted tweets

This is where it gets interesting. Promoting tweets is the most popular format of advertising. You could argue it’s not even an advert, just a tweet that’s been amplified to a broader audience.  They can appear in timeline or search and are normally displayed near the top of the page.

What I like about Promoted tweets is the targeting options available.  As you can imagine, every single thing you do on Twitter is tracked. This makes for extremely granular and reactive targeting. You can target all of your normal stuff like geography, interest and gender. But say for example, you’ve just tweeted ‘I fancy Chelsea to win tonight. I’m thinking 2-1 and a Torres Goal! #cfc’ and the above tweet appears in your timeline, powerful right? Not to mention had I put that bet on I’d be about £750 up.

But where it becomes clever is targeting @handles and their followers. The week sees the start of the Royal Chelsea Flower Show. Imagine running a competition and targeting the followers of @gardenersworld or @TitchmarshShow – can you get more relevant? Just make sure you’re not targeting @AlanTitsmarsh though.

A promoted tweet will only appear in your timeline if the tweet is likely to interest you, and you can only see the tweet once, this I like! This is charged a little differently with a cost per engagement model (click, RT, reply or gaining a new follower). Again, these cost around £0.70p to £1 but with proper optimisation can be reduced to around £0.50p per engagement.

Promoted Trends

These are purchased by a company and appear at the top of the trending topics list are a pretty clearly marked as ‘promoted’.

Now these are pricey, 20 grand a pop for the day. However judging by a few case studies they seem to work extremely well. A recent campaign by Absolute Radio (our residential European team’s favourite station, sigh) drove listeners to twitter to be in with a chance of winning £250 every hour for 24 hours;

“During their Promoted Trend day, conversations around @AbsoluteRadio spiked with 76,000 mentions reaching a potential of 23 million people on Twitter. Twitter users sent more than 100,000 Tweets with the #nowplaying hashtag. The station also saw a significant increase in online listening of 7% on the day of the Twitter contest.”

You can check out that one and more of those success stories on Twitter’s page at

You can get started now with the Twitter Ads self service and grow your presence, target existing customers by location or interests and amplify your messages and promotions. Or for a far more advanced option including strategy support, advanced targeting and global campaign ability there is the Full Service option. You will of course need an agency to help you manage that, that’s where we come in.

Educate first, sell last (well played Kris, well played).