Twitter Advertising for Small Business Part 1 – How it Works

TwitterIn February of 2012, Twitter first announced that they would be releasing advertising options for small businesses, and this officially arrived in the fall of 2012. This new option for smaller budget advertisers has been long awaited. In the past Twitter has been very exclusive with which accounts they accept for their full advertising platform (aka big brands and big budgets). This differs from similar digital and social advertising such as Google, YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn, in which virtually any organization can instantly gain access to the full advertising options – and then tailor the platform to fit their budget and skill set – and take it at their own pace.

Twitter Advertising for Small Business is Twitter’s way of trying to offer ad options to the vast majority of small and medium sized businesses attempting to advertise on the internet and within the mobile landscape. If you haven’t been able to test this new platform out yourself you can read below to learn some of the details of how it works. If you are interested in seeing a review of the positives and the drawbacks, read Part 2 of our Twitter Advertising report.

How it Works:

Promoted Tweets OptionsPromoting Tweets – You are able to choose one or multiple recent Tweets you would like to promote. Promoted tweets show to your followers and to “those with interests similar to your followers.” You pay per click (PPC) or when someone replies or retweets your promoted post. You are able to set a daily budget and a maximum cost per click (CPC). In testing, average CPC’s have ranged from $0.50 – $1.00.

Promoting Accounts – If you choose to promote your account, you will be featured in the “Who to Follow” section on the users’ page. Twitter says it advertises your account to “users that are most likely to be interested in your account.” You are able to set a daily budget and you pay per new follower. Twitter suggests a minimum new follower bid of $2.50. In testing we bid at least that or higher and gained new followers for $1.50 on average.

Analytics/Reporting – Twitter’s small business ad platform offers basic reported data for both your promoted tweets and promoted account ads. For promoted tweets, you can see impressions, click rate, total clicks and amount spent for each of your tweets that you have promoted. For promoted accounts they report on impressions, follow rate, total follows and amount spent. You cannot select custom date ranges to see data from, but they offer a variety of options including current day, previous day, last 7 days, current month, previous month and total data from start date.

Geographic Targeting – With Twitter’s ad platform for small business, you don’t have much control when it comes to targeting your ads. The one main option you have is the geographic area that your promoted tweets and account are shown in. Location targeting is available at the country level, state level, and even metro level. You can choose to include or exclude as many of these options as you see fit. This allows local businesses to target promotions only in the locations that they serve, or it can be used to target only users from geographic areas that would be interested in your company’s specific product or service offerings (example: a ski company may only want to advertise to colder climate locations).

Besides many of the limitations of the new Twitter Ads compared to other ad networks (to be discussed further in our Part 2 blog post), the small business version of their advertising platform means good things – especially for those who have been waiting to use Twitter for advertising, but were previously unable to due to Twitter’s exclusivity. Hopefully in the next year Twitter will continue to improve the advertiser experience and make more options available to everyone. Please read Part 2 of our Twitter Ads report to learn more.