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When deciding to advertise on social media, marketers usually think of Facebook first because of its expansive size and built-out advertising system. However, not exploring some of the great tools and opportunities other platforms have would be a wasted opportunity.

Recently, I ran a branding campaign on both Twitter and Facebook and was pleasantly surprised to find that for this campaign, Twitter gave us cheaper traffic and a more engaged audience.

In this post, we’ll explain the unique benefits of Twitter – and which brands should look to utilize them.

Who Is on Twitter, and Why Should We Advertise There?

Twitter is unique as a platform. Many people, including myself, use Twitter as a source of both entertainment and news. Twitter “moments” give you a rundown of important breaking news and current events, trending hashtags, and popular articles. The demographics of Twitter users are younger – 40% of Twitter users in the U.S. are between the ages of 18-29, with most of those users living in urban areas. If you target users well and know your goal, you can efficiently reach a large audience of engaged users who spend a ton of time on Twitter.

What Campaign Goal Optimizations Does Twitter Offer?

When building a campaign for Twitter, you should first choose a campaign goal. These goals determine the type of bidding you will use in your campaign and your main objective in launching it.

  • Awareness
    • Your campaign will optimize for unique reach and bid on CPM. This is a good choice for advertisers looking to show their ad to as many people as possible.
  • Tweet Engagements
    • Aimed towards creating buzz around your ad, this is for advertisers looking for the “viral” effect on their ad. If you want people to retweet, reply, like, and engage with your tweet, but are not trying to gain leads, this is an excellent option.
  •  Followers
    • This goal could be lucrative for businesses with small Twitter followings wanting to gain followers and expand their organic reach.
  • Website Clicks
    • This goal is best for lead generation and website traffic. If you are promoting a particular landing page or blog, or you want to drive people to your site, this is a viable option.
  • App Installs
    • 83% of people on Twitter are on mobile, making it easy to drive people to download an app straight from Twitter.

Why Should I Spend Money on Twitter Over Facebook?

Twitter is a good resource for cheap CPCs and CPEs, and if you target your audience and define your goals well, the CTR and engagement rate may even be higher than Facebook, as I found in one of my branding initiative campaigns. (Do note that this campaign was based entirely off of branding, with no end goal of a conversion, so if you are looking at a lead generation campaign on Twitter, it may not have the same results.)

In my recent campaign, I split the Twitter budget into two campaign goals – website clicks and engagement. Both optimized efficiently towards their goals, with the click-optimized campaign having a CTR of 7.5% and the engagement campaign an ER of 13.2%. Both of these metrics hit above benchmark for the account. More notably, these metrics surpassed Facebook and drove cheaper traffic, with Facebook only having a CTR of 1.5% and ER of 2.2%.

For this branding initiative, we used Twitter’s interest targeting to our advantage, resulting in cheap traffic and high interest in our ads.

How Can I Target My Audience on Twitter?

As with other social advertising platforms, you can target by language, device, gender, etc., but Twitter interest targeting can be a little more efficient than other platforms. People are actively following and unfollowing accounts on Twitter, while on Facebook people may have “liked” a brand or page years ago but have not “unliked” it because their feed is more focused on their friends, not brands.

On Twitter, you can target followers of an account and create a lookalike of those followers, allowing you to match your audience with similar brands and people to advertise content to them. For example, in the aforementioned branding campaign, I used interest targeting based on the followers of accounts related to the subject of the campaign I was running.

Another advantage of Twitter is its behavior targeting, which is very specific but under less scrutiny than Facebook. As Facebook behavior targeting becomes more strict, Twitter may be a way to continue to serve to those audiences. You can target all kinds of behaviors, from people who are likely to buy a used car to people who purchase Chips Ahoy cookies. All of this data is provided by Twitter partners, such as Acxiom and Datalogix.

What Types of Ads Can I Run on Twitter?

Credit: Twitter

Twitter offers several different options when it comes to ads. You can run promoted tweets, which are subject to the 280 character limit, and use a bitly-type link in the ad, or you can set up Twitter cards, which have 43% higher engagement than promoted tweets.

Below are the options for Twitter card tweets:

  • Image Website Card
  • Image App Card
  • Video App Card
  • Video Website Card
  • Direct Message Card
  • Image Conversational Card
  • Video Conversational Card

Twitter cards link directly to a website, app download, etc., without ever leaving the Twitter app, allowing businesses to give additional information and content beyond the 280-character limit and include media rich content such as images, videos, and app download links.

Using Twitter’s unique tools can definitely boost your brand and drive people to click, view, and engage with your content. If you have a branding initiative, or simply want to explore other platforms with cheaper traffic and less competition, Twitter may be a great option.