How to Set Up a Twitter Advertising Campaign

Twitter AdvertisingBack in 2010 Twitter introduced ‘Promoted Accounts’ as part of its advertising service and having previously been a managed service requiring a minimum spend of approximately £5,000 per month, Twitter ads were rolled out as a self-service platform at the end of 2013 in the UK.

(If you haven’t been offered the option of using Twitter ads for you account yet, eligibility is based on account location, language, status and activity – so get tweeting and engaging and it’ll only a matter of time)

So there’s going to be a lot first-time users taking to Twitter Advertising and this step-by-step ‘how to’ guide is designed to take any guesswork out of getting started, with a focus on Promoted Accounts. Before creating your first campaign, enter your billing details in the Account Settings menu, then away we go…


First, when you enter the Twitter Ads platform, you’ll be asked to select whether you would like to run a ‘Promoted Account’ or ‘Promoted Tweet’ campaign – as below, Twitter provides examples and information to help you choose. In this instance we have opted for a ‘Promoted Account’ campaign.

Twitter Advertising - Promoted Accounts

Give your Campaign a name that will help you easily identify it in future e.g. ‘Company X – Promoted Accounts: January Sale’. Then set the dates and times you would like the campaign to run, or choose to start the campaign immediately and run it continuously.

Twitter Advertising - Promoted Accounts: Name & Scheduling

This is the element which can be a little more tricky:

Username Targeting:  You have the option to add a list of profile usernames which have a similar follower base to your target audience, e.g. if your brand sells organic smoothies, you might want to target Twitter users like Innocent Smoothies’ audience, so enter @innocentdrinks and any other similar brands.

Twitter Advertising - Promoted Accounts: Targeting

Interest Targeting: If you feel that you don’t just want to target users like those who follow the profiles you have listed above, you can instead/in addition target people who have certain interests i.e. ads will show to people with the interests you select, regardless of their likeness to the audiences you entered the usernames for above. Either enter suggestions yourself or browse through the categories that Twitter lists. N.B. this may significantly broaden your reach and target a wider range of users.

Twitter Advertising - Promoted Accounts: Targeting

Choose to target an entire country or just a ‘metro area’, such as London or Manchester. At the time of writing, targeting of more local areas is not possible on the self-service platform, but it would be surprising if the possibilities don’t increase over time.

Twitter Advertising - Promoted Accounts

Gender targeting is possible on Twitter but as users do not have to state their gender upon signing up, it is an inexact science and Twitter bases its gender assumptions on users’ profiles names and their follow graph.

Twitter Advertising - Promoted Accounts

At the top of the targeting section an Estimated Audience Size and Summary is displayed. Double check this before you proceed to ensure your targeting is exactly as you’d like it to be and that you are reaching a small or large enough audience, depending on your objectives.

 Twitter Advertising - Promoted Accounts


The final stage before you can go live is to set your budgets and bids:

Total Budget: First, if you wish to enter a set budget for the campaign, choose the maximum amount you would like the campaign to spend (optional). The campaign will stop once this amount is reached, even if you scheduled your campaign to run for longer.

Daily Budget: Secondly, enter the maximum amount you would like the campaign to spend each day before stopping (required). Twitter also offers the option (that AdWords users will be familiar with) to spread your expenditure over the course of each day (‘Standard’) or to spend your daily budget as fast as possible each day (‘Accelerated’).

TOP TIP: ‘Accelerated’ ad delivery is likely to capture morning users, but may miss out users on Twitter later in the day.

Cost Per Follow: Set the maximum amount you are willing to pay each time somebody ‘Follows’ you as a result of the ad (required). Twitter suggests a bid for you, however, our experience is to start bidding lower than the estimate, monitor campaign performance and then decide whether to increase it or not.

 Twitter Advertising - Promoted Accounts

And that should be that! Twitter have also introduced (following a beta in December/January) the format of Promoted Accounts for mobile, whereby your account is promoted beneath a tweet of your choosing, and this can appear in the timelines of mobile users in your target audience. So you may wish to implement this format as well for each campaign, and you can find out more about it on Twitter’s blog.

TOP TIP: Set up Conversion Tracking for your Twitter Ads by creating Conversion Tag codes and placing them on your website. This is more applicable for ads aiming to drive traffic to a website, but it is a good practice to implement for any campaign.

Twitter Advertising - Promoted Accounts

 TOP TIP: When running a Twitter Advertising campaign, ensure your profile is displaying an array of excellent and engaging content to capture the interest of your new followers.

I hope this helps and thank you for reading this article – if you found it useful, please help others find it by sharing on Google+, Twitter, Facebook or anywhere else you like!


Paul Jackson

Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

With almost a decade of experience in digital marketing, both in-house and agency-side, Paul is a CIM qualified Chartered Marketer with expertise and a refreshing approach. Paul’s experience with a diverse mix of brands in a wide range of industries has allowed him to see first-hand the importance of a tailored and business-oriented approach to marketing.