Create Twitter ads that fit seamlessly into your target audience’s timelines to garner attention, improve traffic, and more. 

Here, you’ll find: 

  • Reasons to consider Twitter Ads
  • The various types of Twitter advertising options
  • Successful Twitter Ads examples
  • Tips for ad optimization

Twitter began as (and, arguably, still is) a social media app to connect virtually with others, share thoughts, and have conversations. 

These days, it’s become a platform where users get breaking news, make jokes, post memes, and fire off random thoughts as well. 

Of course, there have been a few — ahemshakeups at the platform over the last few years. But it’s still one of the globe’s top social networks, which means a portion of your audience is likely on the platform.

So, should your company run ad campaigns on this platform? If so, what kind? Let’s dig into all of this and more below.

What are Twitter Ads? 

Twitter Ads are paid Tweets featuring text or multimedia. They show up on the Twitter platform as Promoted Ads, Follower Ads, and Trend Takeover via desktop or on the mobile app. 

You can usually interact with these Tweets the same way you would an organic Tweet (such as replying, retweeting, or liking), but they’ll be marked as “promoted.”

Twitter remains one of the top platforms for social media marketing ads. 

If you’re running Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads, you may feel like you’re set when it comes to paid social. But if you haven’t even thought about adding Twitter ads into the mix, you may be missing out. 

In fact, Twitter user numbers are growing, even with younger audiences. Whether you’re already aboard the Twitter Ads campaign train or just want to know more, let’s dive into the info you need to succeed on Twitter in 2023. 

Why Twitter Ads deserve your attention

Twitter Ads have the potential to reach over 544 million people.

Not only that, but reports show that the platform has approximately 238 million monetizable daily active users around the world. When these users are scrolling, some of the Tweets in their timelines may be sponsored ads or promoted Tweets. 

Your target audience may very well be active on the Twitter platform. According to Pew Research, around one-in-five adults use Twitter.

hawksem: twitter ads blog

When your Twitter Ads campaign parameters are standard, the platform evens out your spend rate throughout the day. (Image via Unsplash)

A few key benefits of Twitter Ads are that they’re: 

  • Precise: The most effective ones are short and to the point
  • Unobtrusive: They blend into the News Feed organically without jarring the reader
  • Cost-efficient: They allow you to build your campaign in a budget-friendly way
  • Tailored: It’s possible to tailor these ads precisely to target different audiences for increased brand awareness
  • Versatile: You can create an efficient retargeting campaign in just a few clicks

One of the best parts about Twitter Ads is that there’s no minimum campaign spend. Thus, they can be suited to virtually any budget. 

Types of Twitter Ads

Twitter determines which audience your content is most suitable for. After that, the ads compete in an auction based on your budget. 

The more money you’re willing to spend and the more relevant your ads are, the more likely they are to reach your target audience. 

Twitter Ads are a straightforward paid social media marketing tactic. Plus, the platform gives you the freedom to choose from multiple ad options to promote your account and content. 

Promoted Ads

These ads appear in the user’s timeline and look like any other Tweet, except for the “promoted” tag on the bottom. Twitter offers several ad formats: 

  • Text: Plain text Tweet
  • Single image: An image and a block of text
  • Video ads: A video and a block of text
  • Carousel ads: A combination of two-to-six images or videos in a single ad
  • Moment: A combination of Tweets with a title, description, and cover photo

It’s also key to pay attention to the specs of each format to ensure that your ads are top-quality. For example, you can add around 100 Tweets to a Moment (curated stories from across Twitter), but the platform recommends fewer than 10. 

Follower Ads

These ads show up in different locations on the platform, including the timeline, “Who to follow” section, and search results. They display your Twitter account to people who may find it relevant and interesting, helping to build your follower base.

Twitter Amplify

This option allows you to pair your ads with premium video content from vetted publishers. In March 2021, advertisers gained access to some new Amplify options: 

  • Curated categories: You can display paid ads with the video content from 15+ preset groups of publishers. These categories and publishers may change over time.
  • New design: Amplify ads have a specific look with a brand name and logo in the upper-left corner of the ad. You can also choose a call to action (CTA) out of several presets to appear next to the brand name. 
  • More information: When creating Amplify ads, you can browse the list of publishers in the category to make better advertising choices. 

You can also take advantage of the Amplify Sponsorships program, which allows you to pair with a single publisher for the duration of your campaign. According to Twitter, this option is currently unavailable to self-serve advertisers. 

Twitter Takeover

This advanced approach to Twitter advertising allows you to create an immersive experience for the user. Your options for this ad type are: 

  • Timeline takeover: Your ad is the first ad a user sees when they open Twitter. 
  • Trend takeover: This puts your ads near whatever topics are currently trending under the Explore tab and on top of the Trends list for 24 hours.

The cost of Twitter Ads varies dramatically based on the industry, format, audience, and goals. The least expensive ads are generally the standard promoted ads. However, advanced options like Takeover are often more effective.

7 Twitter Ads tips for 2023

Constructing a versatile Twitter marketing campaign can take time and practice. These are the latest tips to help your ads succeed.

Twitter Promoted Explore tab

An example of a Trend Takeover promoted ad in the #Explore tab (via Twitter)


1. Explore Trend Takeover and Trend Takeover+

In early 2020, Twitter introduced the Promoted Trend Spotlight global feature. It’s now called Trend Takeover, with the Takeover+ option including “immersive video creative.”

This feature allows you to place your ad at the very top of the “Explore” tab (for the first two visits per person per day), improving its visibility substantially. The option supports static messaging as well as six-second GIFs and videos. 

It’s important to note that Trend Takeover is a premium placement on the platform. HawkSEM Paid Social Media Managers Nicole Goodnough and Ellie Hayes provided this insight: 

The placement in the trending list (promoted trends) has the potential to drive a ton of traffic and increase awareness by leaps and bounds. The Trend Takeover feature is similar, but also more eye-catching, lending even more opportunity to be remembered and drive conversions. 

However, because of the exclusive placement for 24 hours with the Trend Takeover and Trend Takeover+, and given the cost for a promoted trend is $200k/day, this likely isn’t a feasible option for many brands. However, for national or global events like the Super Bowl or the World Cup, big brands could potentially drive huge amounts of traffic to their site or app with the premium 24-hour placement.”

2. Take advantage of accelerated delivery

When your Twitter Ads campaign parameters are standard, the platform evens out your spending throughout the day. So, if your daily campaign budget is $100, it’ll be distributed more or less evenly within 24 hours (approximately $4 per hour). 

To speed up your campaign and achieve faster results, you can turn the standard delivery option off. When you do that, Twitter will start serving impressions and generating engagement as fast as possible until the daily budget is up.

This is a perfect option for time-sensitive advertising campaigns that need to achieve high engagement during a certain timeframe. 

3. Rethink your Twitter cards

Twitter cards appeared back when the character limit was 140 and companies were desperately wishing for more ad space. Since Tweets with images often see an increase in leads, these cards are still trending. 

When you post a link, Twitter automatically pulls the featured image from the page you’ve linked to and includes that image in your visual Tweet, also known as your Twitter card. If there’s no established image, the card may be blank. 

salesforce twitter card

An example of an in-feed promoted tweet with a Twitter card (via Twitter)

If you want to make a bigger impression with cards: 

  • Use summary cards with larger images to take advantage of higher-quality pictures (Twitter supports 560×750 pixels). 
  • Leverage twitter:site and twitter:creator to pack two user names in one card for a more efficient promotional effort. 
  • Use up all 250 characters to give value to the card. (The Title tag is a separate piece of text, so don’t double up on verbiage.) 

Pro tip: Don’t forget to take advantage of the multi-image card option if it’ll improve your ad. This lets you post up to four images in one Tweet, which expand when the user clicks on them. 

4. Experiment with videos

Video content continues to gain momentum on Twitter and beyond. Create a “video views” campaign to take full advantage of this media and make your ads more appealing. 

These campaigns allow you to display your video in-feed and improve your engagement. 

Here are the details for creating Twitter video views campaigns:

  • Maximum video size: 1GB (ideally under 30MB)
  • Tweet copy: 280 characters (each link costs you 23 characters, so when you include one link, you’ll have 257 characters left)
  • Video length: The maximum is 2 minutes and 20 seconds, but the sweet spot seems to be around 15 seconds. If the video length is under 60 seconds, the video will loop.
  • CC: Closed captions or text overlays are mandatory. 

You can also create a pre-roll views campaign, in which your video ad will play at the beginning of a video that a user wants to watch. Twitter will match you with one of their 200+ content partners, and your ad will be played before your partner’s video. 

5. Capitalize on retargeting

Twitter’s targeting options expand beyond your new prospects. Retargeting features (also called remarketing) can help Twitter Ads stand out from other paid social media advertising options. You can use this feature on Twitter by setting the campaign to retarget those who: 

  • Are past website visitors
  • Have engaged with your Tweets
  • Are newsletter subscribers
  • Have abandoned their e-commerce shopping carts

Pro tip: The social media platform recently relaunched a premium feature subscription called Twitter Blue. This gives users access to exclusive Twitter features. So far, this includes the ability to edit tweets up to 60 seconds after posting, filter important conversations with Top Articles, customize your icons and theme, and score early access to new features.

6. Be strategic with hashtags

Adding hashtags to your Twitter ad copy can have a significant impact on your campaign — if leveraged properly. Ellie and Nicole, Paid Social Media Managers from HawkSEM, explain how: 

“Hashtags created for campaigns (like Dove+LinkedIn’s #PassTheCROWN campaign includes the campaign hashtag and #BlackHairIsProfessional) can be effective for spreading awareness and bringing in leads,” Nicole says. “Though, since Twitter moves fast and trends come and go even faster, it’s really difficult to use trending hashtags in ad campaigns.”

“Hashtags can be really effective if you incorporate them into your organic Twitter strategy to reach new users/customers and can potentially drive more leads,” adds Ellie. “In fact, it’s a unique opportunity for businesses to tap into trade show or conference discussions to connect with potential customers and other businesses in the B2B space.”

When using hashtags, aim to follow best practices, such as:

  • Creating and using branded hashtags, such as #yourcompanyname or a unique phrase related to your business or industry
  • Looking under the “explore” tab to find out which hashtags are trending
  • Checking to see which hashtags the competition is using
  • Not overdoing it — Twitter itself reports that “one or two relevant hashtags per [Tweet] is the sweet spot.”

The right hashtag could drive the potential customer to click your ad just as well as pairing with a publisher would without costing you a penny. Keep in mind that a hashtag is part of the character count.

“Who to Follow” section

An example of a promoted account under the “Who to Follow” section (via Twitter)

7. Experiment, test, rotate

Paid social ads, like all digital marketing campaigns, need regular testing and optimization to perform at their best. You can run a variety of Twitter ads, then analyze how well they work for your target audience and the platform after a significant period of time. 

Be sure to set a campaign objective for each marketing effort to keep moving your business toward its goals. Track metrics like website clicks and clickthrough rate (CTR) to get a clear picture of your campaign’s success. 

Experiment with elements like colors, multimedia, and text to see what provides top results. Designing several ads doesn’t just give you an opportunity to improve your campaign, but it also helps hold your audience’s attention. 

Running the same ads over and over again can annoy potential and existing customers. That’s why it’s a good idea to rotate your most successful pieces.

The takeaway

Twitter Ads can be a successful paid social avenue for a variety of brands and industries. These ad types give you an avenue for reaching your target audience in a seamless, creative way. 

Plus, with ever-changing social media trends, this is also an opportunity for you to have fun and create eye-catching, witty ads that garner double-takes. 

By keeping tabs on the latest developments, trends, and offerings, you can continue to improve your Twitter campaigns — and increase your return on investment (ROI) as a result.

Looking for guidance with your Twitter marketing strategy? The HawkSEM team is here to help. 

This article has been updated and was originally published in June 2020. 

Contact HawkSEM for Free Consultation