Does it Make Sense for Your Business to Advertise on Twitter?

Have you considered advertising your business on social media? I’ve already written about Boosting Facebook posts, so I decided to explore the possibilities on Twitter. The above brief Twitter video describes their ad campaigns.

Promoted Tweets

Twitter offers a number of programs to push your tweets to the top of search results. How naïve to think I’d just show up organically when I searched “social media writer.” Ha!

First I saw a tweet from @Jolliffe03. Her tweet was followed by a Gallery Card, which is a paid ad with four images. (I’ll write more in depth about Twitter Cards in another post).

Finally, me! In “other people” my Gravatar showed up first. Two minutes later, in another search, my image was second, darn.

Twitter Promoted Tweets

So, I decided to create a Promoted Tweet campaign to see if it would improve my ranking in Twitter searches and to tap into a whole new audience with an interest in my topic who might click through to my site.

Impressions, Engagements and Click-throughs

To clarify, there are two components of Promoted Tweets. The first is Search, i.e., Twitter members searching for your keywords, finding your ad and clicking through to your site. The more you spend the higher you will rank in search.

The other component is Impressions. Based on your keywords and audience filters, Twitter’s algorithms deliver your tweets to members whom they have targeted as most likely to read and click on your tweet. You don’t pay for Impressions.

Clicks on the ads are called Engagements. All clicks on the ad are counted (e.g. retweets, replies, favorites, follows), but you’re only billed for Click-throughs to your site.

How I Developed My Campaign

After typing in https://ads.twitter.com you are taken to a page that requests your credit card information. Then  you need to choose the type of campaign. I finally figured out to click on the drop down menu under All Campaigns. Then you choose the type of campaign. I wasn’t quite sure, so clicked on Help Me Choose and decided on Website Clicks or Conversions. I’d like to generate more traffic.

Promoted Tweets Blog Writer

Twitter ads are very much like Google AdWords. You’re participating in an auction and the highest bidder ranks higher in a search. Your Twitter ad (tweet) won’t show up in a search if you haven’t allocated enough money to compete.

I initially decided to opt for a Twitter Card, which is simply a tweet with an image that research shows gets more clicks. But I needed to insert code on my website and I decided to start small to see the results with a simple tweet. I’ll cover Twitter Cards in another blog post.

Next, you’re asked to name your campaign, which I did – Blog Writing. If you’re selling a product or service from your site, you’ll want to set up “conversion tracking.” Twitter provides a piece of code to insert on your site. That enables you to track your ROI based on click-throughs and purchases.

I don’t sell directly from my site. My goal was to get more traffic. Someone can’t come to my site and buy a blog post or other piece of writing. My work is customized. But hopefully the more eyeballs I attract the greater the chance of someone contacting me.

My First Tweets

You have the option of writing a new Tweet or to use an existing tweet from your stream that includes your URL but no image. I chose the filters of English speaking, keywords (blog, blogging, social media, blog post, business writing) any gender, and all platforms. Twitter informed me that other bidders for these key words were spending in the daily range of  $1.68 to $10.00 and suggested that set my bid at $3.08. I decided to set my per-click bid at $5, right in the middle of the low and high-end bidders. I set my total budget at $50.

I wrote three new tweets (recommended) that Twitter would rotate as it added Impressions – i.e., delivering the ads to members. These are the tweets:

  • Need a blog writer? Visit me to read my portfolio of posts. I also write weekly posts for clients.  
  • Do you need help in getting our blog up and running? Visit me at 
  • Visit me at  for a portfolio of my blog posts. Business writer and blogger.

Launch time!

What I Learned

The campaign had been running for about 2-1/2 days when I checked my Campaign Overview a few hours prior to publishing this post. I still have money left in my budget because my cost per click was only $1.22, which I interpret to mean that I didn’t have much competition for my key words. To summarize:

  • Total impressions: 23,566
  • Total spend of $35.38 out of my budget of $50.00.
  • 29 people clicked on the link to my site for a cost of $1.22 per link click and a click rate of 0.12%.
  • My tweet “Need a blog writer?” drew the most clicks, but of importance, the most visits to my site — 19. I felt this was my most sales-y tweet which indicates to me that you can include a sales pitch that isn’t a turnoff. Also asking a question might have piqued interest.
  • It was obvious throughout the Campaign as I searched my key words that Twitter Cards are the way to go. Twitter Cards are essentially Promoted Tweets with images. They always showed at the top of my searches.

Am I glad I ran the campaign? Yes. It was a worthwhile experiment. Pay-per-click advertising — like direct response advertising — gives you an exact read on how effective your advertising is. I was pleased that 29 people clicked through to my site.

But I don’t think Twitter ads are as effective for a service as they are for a product. If you sell cameras — the example used in the Twitter video — there is the good possibility the visitor may buy your product. You can accurately track your ROI.

Have you used Twitter ads? Were they successful? If you haven’t, are you considering using them for your product or service?

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  1. This is really interesting, Jeannette. I haven’t used Twitter Ads yet, but this is definitely some information I will tuck away and keep in case I consider using them in the future.

    • Susan — I think Promoted Tweets can work in the right circumstances. It cost $1.22 per click to get someone to my site, not a bad investment if you’re selling something tangible the visitor might actually buy. Not so sure it’s as useful for someone like myself who writes to order!

  2. Hi Jeannette; You did settle a couple of issues for me. I get these offers from linked in and google all the time but have been afraid to take advantage of them because I worry about agreeing to spend money I don’t have. I mean what happens when i go over the 50 or 100 dollar free amount. thanks for reassuring me that you can’t go over your budget and may even have money left over. I am wondering if I should consider trying these ad methods when my ebook goes live. I’d like to do it before but am hoping for some early sales that will provide funds for ads. thanks for trying it out for us. take care, max
    Maxwell Ivey recently posted..Making progress towards publishing my first ebookMy Profile

    • Hi Max — you’re correct. You set the budget and when the budget is reached the advertising stops. For just a few dollars it might be worth trying for you ebook but you’ll need to have your site set up so someone can make a purchase directly from you or provide a link to Amazon or wherever you’re selling the book online.

  3. Interesting, Jeannette. Thanks for sharing the details. I had not considered Twitter for advertising before, but now know a little more about it. The “salesey” Tweet winning the contest is not surprising (in hind sight). I wonder if it would be worth experimenting again with a range of different ones along those lines…
    Sue Hines recently posted..Your Work Your GeniusMy Profile

    • Sue — I’m going to write about Twitter Cards in the next week or so. They are also promoted tweets but with images. When you search a key word on Twitter nowadays you will invariably see Twitter Cards ads before anything else.

    • Jacquie — Glad I could help. As I mentioned to Max, it’s worth a try to sell an ebook. The investment is fairly modest and you’ll learn if Twitter ads can generate sales without spending a bundle of money.

    • Pat — I think it could work well in bring visitors to your site to download your books, but I don’t know it would make economic sense. I paid $1.22 for each visitor, but you can set a per-click limit. So you might set your upper limit at just a few cents and see if it worked.

  4. I’ve not used Twitter ads but it has been on my list of things to look into and I am grateful for your post. As a life transitions coach, I deliver a service so the distinction between how Twitter ads may be more beneficial to those delivering products is also helpful.

    • Michele — Glad that my experiment was useful. I, too, think it would be more beneficial to people who sell products.

    • Leora — If your clients sell products it’s something to look at. You can search your keywords and potentially get a sense of how many people are on Twitter who could be targets for their services.

    • Arleen — I just looked and I’ve spent close to my $50 budget and have had 31,000 impressions and 41 click-throughs. If I was selling something — like a expensive promotional item — with a sizable price tag, it might be worth it if even only 10% converted. I was actually thinking about you when I wrote this post!

  5. This is a really helpful post Jeannette – I knew nothing about Twitter ads – except the name – so this is a great intro into deciding whether to use it. Not the right time for me at the moment , but very informative to hear your experience . Have bookmarked the post to use later. Much to my surprise, twitter is where most people find me (aside from BHB) so I’ve been spending more time on twitter recently. Perfect timing for this post. Thank you.
    A.K.Andrew recently posted..#Muse media #Annie Proulx on LoveMy Profile

    • A.K. — Glad it was helpful. It sounds like Twitter may be where your targets are hanging out and that’s always good to know.

  6. If my business was in the US I might try it. But in Sweden it would not be as effective. Besides you would mainly reach young people. If they were my target group it would be different.

    Am constantly being added by Americans on Twitter with between 10,000 and half a million followers or more. They find me and I follow them back. If they had been Swedish I would definitely have tried advertising on Twitter:-)
    Catarina recently posted..Covert branding works against youMy Profile

    • Catarina — Twitter advertising surely isn’t for everyone. I think it will work better for businesses who are selling products.

  7. What great information Jeannette. I’ve been eyeing this for when my book comes out. “Any minute now,” I’m told. But when I do see it, I’ve going to come back over here and see how you did it specifically and adapt.

    I’m in total agreement about this venue being more appropos for products over services.

    Great post Jeannette. Thanks.
    Patricia Weber recently posted..Get Rid of 5 Monsters NowMy Profile

    • You’re welcome, Pat. I think Twitter is a possibility for your book because it’s a product you can sell directly from your site. Might be worth setting up a small ad budget to see how it works.

  8. When I was promoting my travel business via Twitter and Facebook I started out using ads like you mention in your post. I found them very effective in terms of getting people to view, like, say hi, etc but turning those social media hugs into tangible sales with a cash tie-up was almost impossible. I agree that for businesses that sell a product it could work but not so much for services.
    Tim recently posted..The Mogamma OdysseyMy Profile

    • Lenie — I think you’d find a large audience of Twitter users who are into herb products. You might check the hashtags for herbs to identify these communities and include the hashtag in your Promoted Tweet or Twitter Card that would go into that hashtag stream. I just looked and there is a #herbs hashtag.

  9. Very nice post Jeannette! I’ve seen similar things about Facebook. Twitter feels more salesy to me overall. But that could just be the way I’ve been using it or not using it. Someday, I’ll do more marketing, when there’s a product to market. You’ve given great tips and straight forward instructions on how to do this. Very clear and informative. Thank you!
    Angela recently posted..Can We Trust What’s On The Shelves?My Profile

  10. Thanks for sharing such an informative post Jeannette!

    And judging from your actual numbers, your one tweet that received a
    total of 19 of your 29 clicks, that over 65%.

    Which means you probably need to expand that campaign in other ways as well.

    I must admit that like a lot of your readers, to this point I’ve been
    a little hesitant to invest in any type social media PPC ad campaigns.

    But your results have definitely wanting to take another look.

    I’m curious, did your tweet drive your traffic directly to one of your sales pages or the home page of your blog and or to one your lead capture pages?

    Thanks for sharing such an informative post and really breaking your ad results numbers down. That was extremely helpful and appreciated.
    Mark recently posted..Why You Might Want To Seriously Consider Hiring A Lion Tamer As Your Next Marketing Consultant!My Profile

    • Mark — I don’t sell online so I don’t have a sales page or lead capture page. The purpose of my blog is for branding. One of my specialties is social media so I like to experiment with different tools, including ads, so I can see how they work and hopefully what I learn will be helpful to my readers.

  11. Hi Jeannette,

    This post is timely for 2015 as more people are looking to expand into areas they’ve not yet touched upon.

    Admittedly, I’ve seen thousands of promoted tweets (who hasn’t?) and wondered what the process was and cash outlay (but hadn’t taken any step beyond “wondering”).

    Your numbers from your experiment are encouraging, both the click-through percentages and the small budget. Thanks for sharing this.
    Vernessa Taylor recently posted..Too Much Paper? Adopt A Managed Print Services MindsetMy Profile