How Do Twitter Ads Work?

Twitter Ads signup page.
Screenshot of Twitter.


How Do Twitter Ads Work?

Twitter allows users to promote individual tweets, their accounts, as well as Trends.

In order to more carefully target ads, Twitter personalizes them based on behavioral information from users, such as where they are, who they follow, what they Tweet, and what kind of content they interact with. Personalized ads are enabled by default, but users may turn them off.


Ad budget & auction system

When creating an ad campaign, the advertiser will need to define an ad budget, among other things. There is no minimum required budget, but a higher daily budget makes it more likely that an ad will be shown to a Twitter user.

Twitter has 3 bid types for Twitter Ads:

  • Automatic bid – designed to auto-optimize the bid to maximize results at the lowest price within the selected budget.
  • Maximum bid – allows advertisers to choose their maximum bid. Twitter will not charge more than the maximum bid.
  • Target bid – allows advertisers to choose the amount that they will pay per billable action. The campaign will auto-optimize ads to achieve a daily average cost that meets or beats the target bid.

Twitter ads compete in an auction which selects the ad that will be displayed to users. Twitter takes into account the price the advertiser is willing to pay and the quality score of the ad to determine the winner. The quality score depends on factors such as:

  • Resonance, which shows how much people engage with an ad via Retweets, clicks, or likes.
  • Relevance, which shows how well an ad aligns with the audience’s interests.
  • Recency, which shows how up-to-date your content is.

Each time the advertiser’s ad wins an auction, it is displayed to one person on Twitter, generating an impression.


Ad targeting

Twitter offers a range of features to allow advertisers to more narrowly target their ads. Advertisers may target their ads based on:

Advertisers may also use Custom Audiences to target their existing followers. There are 3 types of Custom Audiences:

  • Lists, where, among others, the advertiser may use the email addresses or Twitter @names for targeting.
  • Website activity, where the advertiser may target people who have recently viewed the promoted website.
  • App activity, where the advertiser may reach groups that have taken a specific action in the promoted app.


Billable actions & ad payments

If the person who sees your add performs a billable action, Twitter charges the advertiser for the ad.

Twitter will charge you for that action using what we call a second price auction model. This model ensures that you will only ever pay incrementally more than needed for your ad to beat out the second place ad in the auction. For example, if you bid $1.40 and beat an otherwise identical ad bidding $1.00, your campaign will be charged $1.01 if the person it was shown to makes the billable action.

The billable action for an ad depends on the campaign objective chosen by the advertiser.

Twitter campaign objectives.
Courtesy of Twitter.


Campaign reporting

Twitter tracks ad performance and displays performance indicators in the campaign dashboard. The dashboard shows performance indicators such as:

  • Impressions.
  • Results, which are actions directly tied to the campaign objective.
  • Engagement rate, which is the number of impressions divided by the number of results.
  • Cost-per-result (CPR), which shows the average cost of a relevant action.

You may view performance data at an objective, campaign, or Tweet level.


Who Is Eligible To Run Twitter Ads?

Twitter has certain eligibility criteria for advertisers. Among some of the requirements that a user’s account must meet for them to be able to advertise on Twitter are:

  • The account needs to pass an undisclosed amount of time after creation to be allowed to begin advertising.
  • Tweets from the advertiser’s account must be public.
  • Deactivated or suspended accounts cannot be used to run Twitter ads.
  • The profile and header photos of the user must not be GIFs.
  • The profile URL must not be gated and must accurately represent the advertiser’s brand and promoted product or service.


Resources To Help You Get Started

Before getting started with Twitter ads, visit the Twitter Ads Help Center. There, you will find information on:

Twitter also has a YouTube channel where advertisers can find video tutorials covering the basics of its ad platform.





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