How Online Retailers Can Get Started with Twitter Ads

Published on January 4, 2022
Written by
Filed under Shipping Basics
Read time 10 Minutes

Some brands under-appreciate Twitter as an advertising platform. Instead, they choose to focus on Facebook and Instagram.

But Twitter can be an effective platform for driving sales for your ecommerce company. This post will discuss why and how you can use Twitter Ads to increase sales and form stronger relationships with your customers.

Why You Should Use Twitter Ads

Twitter is an ideal platform for ecommerce companies. Twitter users shop online more than non-users and are often inspired to buy things because they came across it on Twitter. In fact, 60% of people have purchased something from an SMB because of Twitter. Twitter can also help increase brand awareness with 57% of Twitter users discovering an SMB through Twitter.

Due to the Facebook algorithm change, organic reach has decreased for companies. As a result, brands are more dependent on advertising. A major downside is this makes it more difficult to engage with people and increase your following.

The goal of Twitter Ads is to engage with targeted audiences and expand your reach to attract new, and hopefully long term, customers. The social media network has been shown to be effective at increasing conversation and building positive relationships between brands and consumers. Over 70% of people feel better about an SMB after following them on Twitter. And 9 out of 10 Twitter users have actively engaged in a conversation with SMBs.

What Are the Different Kinds of Twitter Ads?

There are several kinds of Twitter Ads you can consider using to promote your company. And you have many targeting options, including geographic location and device. You can also select audiences by gender, interest, keywords in their timeline, and keywords in their search results.

Promoted Accounts

Twitter Ads for Online Retailers - Promoted Accounts


If you want to increase your Twitter following, you can pay to have your account promoted in target users’ Who to follow recommendations. Twitter targets look-a-like audiences, which are Twitter users that follow similar brands and have similar activity patterns to your current followers. With this strategy, you only pay when someone follows your account. And you can determine how much you want to spend per day or per follower.

Gaining more Twitter followers means more people will be up to date about the latest products and deals from your company. This, in turn, can increase site traffic and sales. In fact, Twitter followers are 72% more likely to make a purchase from you.

Promoted Tweets

Twitter Ads for Online Retailers - Promoted Tweets

Promoted tweets offer the most flexibility in how you engage people and create interest in your brand. You have two options:

  1. Choose which tweets to promote
  2. Have your tweets that receive the highest engagement automatically promoted and featured on people’s feeds.

Like promoted accounts, you only pay when someone engages with your tweet — e.g., likes, retweets, or comments. This kind of advertisement can be great if you want to promote a sale or promotional offer. It can entice people that have never heard of your company to check out your website and buy your products. The great thing about using promoted tweets in this way is you could potentially generate leads without having to pay for them since you only pay for direct engagement with tweets. You can also use promoted tweets to generate conversations and build relationships with shoppers.

Twitter Ads for Online Retailers - Conversational Ads


Is your main goal to create conversations and interactions with consumers on Twitter? Consider using conversational ads. Conversational ads are promoted tweets with images or video that include call-to-action (CTA) buttons with customizable hashtags. When a user clicks the CTA, he or she can personalize the tweet by typing their own message and then share it. Then their tweet will appear on their timeline with the original media and CTA. An automated message from the brand appears, thanking the user for engaging with the post. Conversational ads can be a really powerful way to engage with consumers, spread a campaign message, and attract new customers. You can also use these kinds of ads for market research by using multiple CTA buttons to run polls.

Promoted Trends

Twitter Ads for Online Retailers - Promoted Trends

A slightly more pricey option is promoted trends. Twitter has a trend list of trending hashtags based on geographical area and interests. When a person clicks on a trend, they can then scroll through all tweets using that hashtag. Brands can pay to get a branded hashtag on this list for 24 hours. If you decide to pay for a promoted trend, it’s best that you put a lot of thought and time into your hashtag campaign strategy.

The promoted trend above, #EvolveTheDefinition, is by Bonobos, a men’s clothing company. Bonobos used Twitter to generate discussions on the outdated definition of masculinity. This was inspired by the brand’s own values to make the concept of “masculinity” more inclusive and less restricting.

Bonobos created a landing page with interviews of men discussing what it means to be masculine. They also used celebrity sponsors to spread the word about the campaign. The sponsors encouraged people to participate using the hashtag #EvolveTheDefinition.

This campaign was geared towards spurring conversation and engagement. But you can also use promoted trends for something more directly related to your products, such as new product reveals.

How to Optimize Your Twitter Ads

Now you’re familiar with the advertising options available on Twitter. So let’s go over some best practices so you can receive a high return on investment for your ads.

Keep it short

Tweets with fewer characters have higher engagement rates than tweets with 140 characters or more.

Use images and video

Images and video can help drive engagement. Tweets with images are 150% more likely to get retweets than text-only tweets. Rich media, which can include streaming videos, audio, and other interactive features, get 313% more engagement and 52% more retweets.

Make ads mobile-oriented

82% of monthly active users access Twitter through a mobile device. This means you’ll definitely want to make sure your ads and hyperlinks are mobile friendly.

Include website cards

Website cards include a hyperlinked image, title of your website, and a CTA button. They are a great way to drive traffic to your website. Tweets with website cards have 43% higher engagement than tweets with links.

Twitter Ads for Online Retailers - Twitter Cards

Be responsive

People expect a quick reply when they @ mention you or have a question or complaint directed towards your brand. As a matter of fact, 15% of consumers will unfollow a brand if they don’t receive a reply. Set aside time to look at comments from your promoted tweets and tweets that use your branded hashtags.

Generate conversation

Twitter designed its advertisements to create engagement and conversation. While you should definitely promote your products on Twitter, your content shouldn’t just be about your products. Twitter is an opportunity to build relationships and reach out to customers to find out what they want/need and how you can help them. For this reason, you’ll want to have a personable tone so users will want to engage with you.

Next Steps

If you’re interested in incorporating Twitter Ads into your social media marketing strategy, remember Twitter Ads are very content-based and focused on engagement. Get creative and post content that draws your audience in. And don’t forget to think about your target market. Twitter has a young following so if your customers aren’t using Twitter, it might not be the right move for your business.

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Written by

Margie Zable Fisher

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