on May 31, 2022 (last modified on May 21, 2022) • 17 minute read
While many marketers continue to throw the majority of the ad budget to Google and Facebook, they’d be foolish to continue to ignore other platforms like Twitter.
In fact, in Q4 2021, Twitter made $1.41 billion from ad revenue. That’s a 22% year over year increase.
After all, an ad platform doesn’t grow that much if businesses aren’t seeing results.
In this post, we’re taking a closer look at some Twitter ad best practices as well as some potential drawbacks to the platform.
Yes, Twitter ads still work in 2022. Just like any PPC or paid social ad platform, Twitter ads work well assuming you know who your ideal customer profile (ICP) is and take the time to understand the nuances of the platform you are advertising on.
In general, our respondents that are seeing the most success with Twitter ads are more likely to be larger businesses that are running brand awareness campaigns. That’s because Twitter is particularly great for creating viral content, boosting engagement, and expanding overall reach.
*Note: For added context, we surveyed 57 respondents. 50.88% were B2C, 33.33% were agencies, and 15.79% were B2B.
In particular, 42.11% of our respondents advertise on Twitter, while 45.67% of them used to advertise on this platform. 12.28% of them stated that they have never advertised on Twitter.
It is also interesting to note that almost 60% of those who have never advertised on Twitter work for agencies.
Of those who have experience with Twitter ads, around 30% are very satisfied with the ad platform. These respondents tended to be at larger brands running brand awareness campaigns.
Marketers at smaller companies or who were running strictly lead/conversion campaigns tended to be less satisfied with Twitter ads, compared to other platforms.
Related: How to Optimize Twitter Ads: Use These 17 Tips to Get Better Results
Since almost 40% of our respondents were not very satisfied with Twitter ads, we wanted to understand why that was the case. It turns out their reasoning was complicated. Some complained about suboptimal Twitter features. But for many others, it was related to not knowing their audience well enough or trying to advertise in a way that doesn’t match the overall vibe on Twitter.
The biggest complaint many marketers and advertisers have about Twitter ads is around their reporting, attribution, and conversion tracking features.
While they make a valid point, after recent iOS privacy changes, it is worth noting that attribution is getting worse across the board.
“Twitter Ads are hard to navigate with poor conversion tracking compared to other platforms,” says Haleema Rehman of Six & Flow. “Whilst the targeting can be narrowed – it is not the best platform to advertise for a B2B business.”
Marc Thomas of Powered by Search says, “It’s a low bar to create an amazing ad platform. And Twitter thinks it’s a limbo contest. Specifically: Bad attribution, Hard to make spend efficient, Unreliable creative tools, Poor collaboration”
Sean Nguyen of Internet Advisor adds, “Being an Internet-based company, we’ve mostly used Google AdWords for our advertising needs, and while that’s an excellent thing for us, it may have set our expectations a little high before we tried to advertise on Twitter. When we did advertise on Twitter not only was the interface confusing to use, but the tracking wasn’t very good – and we’re very data-focused.
Many online ad tools today are nice and easy to use because companies have realized just how important these tools are for businesses. When it came to Twitter, however, we found it harder to track how our ads were performing and therefore struggled to make the right adjustments as we do with our ads on Google. We didn’t advertise on Twitter much, and even ended up shutting our account down because we weren’t seeing the results we’d hoped for. Maybe it gets better when you get used to it, but we saw more potential through improving our ads through AdWords than trying to figure out how to improve on Twitter.”
In particular, many cited the lack of granular, accurate daily reports.
“Conversion tracking accuracy,” explains Jamie Irwin of Straight Up Search, “ I just have my doubts about it. We need accurate daily reports. I have to keep using Google Ads and Google Analytics to get fully accurate data.”
Sam Speller of Kenko Matcha adds, “In my experience, the biggest con of using Twitter ads is that it can be hard to know how effective your campaigns are in real-time. For example, I know that one of my campaigns has been running for two days and has gotten a few thousand impressions, but I don’t know how many people clicked on the link at all or what their engagement rate was. It would be great if there were some way to see these metrics in real-time so that I could tweak my campaigns as they’re running.”
Ricky Lui of Yoyipet agrees, “Twitter ads have poor conversion tracking and it doesn’t pull daily reports. Twitter generates about one out of ten leads we generate. Therefore, if you are spending money and not seeing the results you expected, don’t panic or block any ads. There’s a good chance your ads are doing better than Twitter is reporting. Keeping your own daily reports will be your best choice if you don’t want to lose track of your leads. For example, Google Analytics, lets you set up tracking on a third-party site.”
To monitor and improve the performance of your Twitter Ads campaigns, you can spend hours running a variety of reports and compiling selected metrics manually into one dashboard. Or, you can pull all of your data automatically into one dashboard with Databox. You can instantly review all of your campaigns and drill down on important metrics, such as:
Now you can benefit from the experience of our Twitter marketing experts, who have put together a plug-and-play Databox template showing all the key insights you need to optimize your Twitter ads for conversions. It’s simple to implement and start using as a standalone dashboard or in marketing reports, and best of all, it’s free!
You can easily set it up in just a few clicks – no coding required.
To set up the dashboard, follow these 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Get the template
Step 2: Connect your Twitter account with Databox.
Step 3: Watch your dashboard populate in seconds.
If you are used to advertising on Google and Facebook, then you know you can find a way to reach almost everyone there. That’s not the case on Twitter. There are many audiences that just don’t hang on Twitter, and trying to run ads to an audience that isn’t there won’t help with either brand awareness or sales.
“Twitter is ineffective (for me) at extending a brand’s reach,” says Janice Wald of Mostly Blogging. “I study social media growth, and no one has recommended Twitter for boosting traffic either through organic or paid means. In his podcast, Neil Patel made a point of stating that Twitter is practically worthless for boosting reach. You need to spend your money elsewhere if you want to buy ads. Twitter needs to boost organic reach like TikTok. Then, marketers will get excited about buying Twitter ads.”
John Frigo of Best Price Nutrition says, “Two platforms we’ve stopped using and won’t be using in the future are Twitter and Reddit, neither have been effective at all in terms of driving traffic or conversions. People aren’t on Twitter looking to shop and for whatever reason, it doesn’t have the same high conversions and the viral nature that Instagram ads often have. Also, Twitter has historically lied about their user numbers so personally, I don’t really trust anything about them.”
Charles Demarkles of Demarkles Digital adds, “One of the biggest cons about using Twitter ads is that they only work in Twitter’s ecosystem, which can be detrimental to client success depending on what niche their products or services fall into. Twitter’s platform is a great medium for exchanging ideas, and some individual niches have very active community bases that utilize the platform.
However, there is limited reach using Twitter, compared to Google which can show you a variety of ad types in nearly any corner of the internet that you go to. Certain products & target consumers will not be compatible with Twitter, either because they don’t use the platform, or would rather be making their transactions in a place that they feel safer.
Also, given the nature of how Tweeting is instantaneous sharing of short ideas, many people who are logged into the platform are likely to not be taking the time to review your ad in their feed, no matter how we you targeted it. Still, it is important to use it as part of your broader digital awareness-building strategy, as you want to be sure that you’re ads are being provided to your target audience, regardless of where they are.”
If you’ve ever used Facebook business manager, you know how clunky and slow the platform can be. Unfortunately, Twitter’s ad management platform also leaves a lot to be desired for some.
“The biggest con is the complexity of the ad platform itself,” says Chris Grayson of InfluencerMade. “The structure and layout of the ads dashboard can be confusing and difficult to navigate, especially for beginners.
In order to improve this aspect of Twitter ads, there should be better training available for users, as well as more user-friendly tools that can help to streamline the ad creation process.
Overall, with a few key improvements, Twitter ads could become an even more powerful marketing tool for businesses both small and large. Bottom Line: The ad dashboard on Twitter is confusing and difficult to navigate.”
Related: 24 Twitter Marketing Tips for Driving Engagement, Leads, & Sales
An ad is always going to be a distraction from a user’s experience. While there are some UX improvements that Twitter could make to make the ad experience better in people’s feeds, advertisers themselves also need to make sure their content is relevant to the audience they are targeting in the first place.
“In my experience, the biggest downside to Twitter ads is that they can be very intrusive,” says Luke Lee of Ever Wallpaper. “Because ads are interspersed with regular tweets, they can disrupt the flow of information and make it difficult to focus on what’s being said.
Additionally, because ads are often targeted at specific groups of users, they can come across as being tone-deaf or insensitive.
For example, I once saw an ad for a weight loss product that included the tagline “You’re worth it.” While this may be an effective slogan for some people, for others it could be triggers feelings of guilt or insecurity. If Twitter wants to improve its ad offerings, it needs to find a way to make them less disruptive and more relevant to users.”
Linda Thompson of Notta.ai adds, “We tried using Twitter Ads to grow our following on Twitter for a period. After a while, we realized that the ROI from Twitter Ads was simply not it. For a start, Twitter’s targeting style is simply a mess. The ads may give your brand awesome reach, but that reach doesn’t really matter if your brand is being viewed by the wrong audience.
In a way, advertising on Twitter is more or less a gamble. The Twitter audience also rarely engages with promoted content. The chances of getting some real engagement on your promoted tweet is ridiculously low.”
When people do engage, this can lead to more negative comments on your Twitter ads than other platforms.
For instance, Steve Yanor of Sky Alphabet Social Media says, “The biggest con of using Twitter ads is that people can leave negative comments on your ad. To remedy this, turn off the comments so that only people mentioned in the ad can comment.”
Similar to the point above, Twitter ads perform particularly poorly on average for driving new or repeat purchases.
“The Twitter algorithm isn’t anywhere near as effective as Facebook at optimizing for conversions,” says Claire Jarrett of Jarrett Digital. “It doesn’t have access to as many data points, and the traffic is lower quality as a result. As a result, leads are substantially more expensive, and there are a lot fewer of them.
Even retargeting ads don’t work as effectively, with Click-Through Rates around a third of what you see on other platforms.
To improve the results from Twitter Ads, the system needs to do a better job at identifying those people who are likely to convert. Helping advertisers to increase conversion rates and dropping cost per lead will see a lot of advertisers choose to invest more in the platform.”
Related: Twitter Ads for B2B: How to Actually Generate Leads on Twitter
Twitter ads are also more expensive than Facebook ads.
“One of the biggest cons of using Twitter ads is that they can be quite expensive,” says Goodell David of Woodworking Clarity. “Depending on your budget and how many people you want to reach, you could end up spending a lot of money on Twitter ads. Additionally, Twitter ads are not always guaranteed to be successful. Even if you create a well-crafted ad, there is no guarantee that people will see it or that it will result in conversions.
There are a few ways to improve the issue of expensive Twitter ads. One way is to create a more targeted ads approach. This can be done by targeting ads to specific groups of users based on interests, demographics, or even location. Another way to improve the issue of expensive Twitter ads is to create more engaging and relevant ads. This can be done by making ads that are more likely to be clicked on, or by making ads that are more relevant to the user’s interests.”
Earlier in this post, we covered how the ad platform isn’t particularly easy to navigate. A related UX flaw that a few advertisers mentioned was around ad optimization controls.
“The biggest con of using Twitter ads is that they can be a bit of a hassle to set up and manage,” says Yasser Al-dhamary of Skillsbuild Training. “You have to create a new ad campaign for each individual ad you want to run, and then keep track of all the different settings and targeting options for each campaign. And if you’re running multiple ads at the same time, it can quickly become a full-time job just to keep them all straight!
One potential solution to this problem is to seek more training and support for advertisers. This could include perusing detailed tutorials on how to use the various features of Twitter ads and seeking support in terms of understanding the data and analytics associated with them from Twitter.”
Steven Walker of Spylix adds, “In my opinion, Twitter is one of the best platforms you can use & trust to promote advertisements. Using this tool for the advertisement gives a lot of relief if you know your target audience & it is reaching them. But some things really bug me & it can be improved easily, but still, it doesn’t.
The things are: It spends too fast. Twitter spends way too fast sometimes compared to any other platform for promotions. If you bid too high on your cost per click, your $500 budget can get spent in half an hour if you’re not keeping a close watch. They need to decrease the rate of spending just by keeping the prices low for small scale businesses especially.
It takes a lot of time to make an Ad account. To make an Ad account on Twitter, you need several things & time. With the help of good programming & software, it can easily be resolved, but still, it is not for a long time.”
Admittedly, this issue isn’t unique to Twitter. All social media platforms have to deal with bot and spam accounts. And, this can impact your ad experience.
“The biggest con to Twitter Ads is that there are so many bot-type accounts that the audience targeting can sometimes be misleading,” says Andrew Maff of BlueTuskr. “For example, you can target as deep as running ads directly to a certain profile’s followers, but if most of their followers are fake accounts, it’s tough to get the results you want.”
Abhishek Joshi of Dog with Blog agrees, “I guess the issue that stares them hard is to account for ‘real users’ on the platform – trends, hashtags, etc. fail to have any meaningful impact if bots rule the roost. Twitter needs to open up on cleaning the userbase – getting rid of bots, the loopholes that allow blackhat operators/agencies to hijack conversations and seed hashtags, often politically motivated.”
Similar to bot accounts, customer support is another issue that plagues every ad platform from Google to Facebook and Twitter.
“If there is an issue with your ad or something else that causes you to need to contact their support team, Twitter really isn’t the best at helping,” says Kristen Bolig of SecurityNerd. “They can be hard to get in contact with at all, and even if you do get in contact, sometimes your issue won’t be resolved effectively.
We once had an ad taken down without our knowledge, and when we tried to contact support, we weren’t given a straight answer as to why it was taken down. It was a time-consuming issue that left us feeling very frustrated. Twitter definitely needs to improve their support.”
According to our research, the most important thing to get right is to know your customers inside and out and make sure they are actually on Twitter. Once you’ve done that, your success with Twitter Ads is all about consistent monitoring and timely ad optimization.
This is where our tool can help.
In fact, you can even set up alerts in Databox to avoid unpleasant surprises and make adjustments right when they matter most.
The best part—it is free to get started. Create your free Databox account.
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