As a comparatively new ads platform there has been a lot of hype about Twitter. However, constant comparison to the larger, more veteran ads platforms has shed some negative light on its usefulness to marketers. At LeadSift, we have come across very savvy clients who had given up on Twitter for a variety of reasons. However, when a campaign is constructed properly, Twitter is a great lead generation tool. The key is to a) set appropriate expectations and b) set up the campaigns for success. Let’s start by breaking down the anatomy of good Twitter campaigns:

STEP ONE: Define Your Campaign Objective

Before you begin, determine the objective of your campaign: are you looking for followers, website visits, website conversions, tweet engagements or awareness? This will have an impact on how your campaign performs. The other important element is the ad format. Here are a few examples of  matching the ad format with your objective:

Objective: Website visits and conversions

Format: Website cards

Tip: Don’t use an image with a link if your objective is website conversions as users tend to click on the image which results in a cost to you with no conversion

Objective:  Increase app installs

Format: App Installs and Engagements (along with setting up Fabric to enable tracking)

If you are B2B consider this in defining your objectives:

  • Aim for a few rounds of awareness if your company is not among the F100. Then, go for gated content, demo signups or free trial signups using website cards.

Format: Tweet Engagements + Follower campaigns followed by Website Conversion cards

If you are B2C consider trying:

  • Coupons, Twitter only deals and time bomb offerings work amazingly. Be sure to include a bold image highlighting what the special offer is or an image which doubles as a coupon. If you have more resources, running a competition or game with maximum number of retweets or hashtag usage creates a lot of positive awareness.

Format: Tweet engagements, organic tweets requesting action like RT (for virality), Website conversions to download coupons etc.

Note: The LeadGen card seems like it has huge potential but we have not seen it perform well to-date, and although it might be gaining traction, we suggest waiting to see some success stories before using this ad format.

STEP TWO: Target Your Ideal Customers

Twitter allows you to target yourself, your neighbour and all of their friends. But this is also a good way to blow your budget – fast! To drive the best results from your ad spend, define your target thoroughly. Answer a few key questions first – starting with who is your target audience? Where are they based? Where are your competitors based and where is their audience? Here are some of the best options for targeting:

  • @handle targeting: Twitter native targeting allows you to target users who “look like” the followers of a certain @hande. There is a means of targeting the actual followers rather than “look-alikes” with the right social intelligence tools (we can help you with this one!). This is a also great option if you want to target your competitor’s followers.
  • By interests: You can chose from 25 interest categories that expand into 350 sub-topics in Twitter. To get maximum reach for your budget you should first understand what the top interests of your target audience is – and yes, we can help you with this one too.
  • By lifestyle and demographic attributes: Are your ideal customers frequent flyers? Moms who are entrepreneurial? Marketing execs who love outdoors? Car owners who care about the environment? We can help you find out these details about your target audience and then reach them.
  • By intent: What better way to target users than when they express an intent to buy your product? You can tap into those buying signals throughout the customer journey with a little help from our platform.
  • By age, location and platform: Be cognizant of what you are asking your audience to do when determining the right platform. An awareness ad for gaining followers is ideal for mobile but if you’re trying to get them to fill out a form and/or download a pdf, tablets and desktops are the better choice.

Tip: Go back to your campaign after it has run for a couple days and identify how you can refine it. Maybe some creatives work better on mobile and others on desktops? If so, consider splitting them out in separate campaigns.

STEP THREE: Creatives – The Boss of Your Campaign

Big bold bright pictures perform best. Limit the amount of text – keep it short and to the point. Remember you only have a split second to catch someone’s eye while they are scrolling through their Twitter stream. You’ll need at least 2 images and 5 tweets so you can create different combinations. It’s ideal to revisit them every 2 days for the first week and then at least once a week to see what’s performing the best. Dump what’s not.

Twitter Ad Example 1Twitter Ads Example 2

Comparing the ad units above, the first one has amazing bold colours and an intriguing image but while monitoring it, we realized that it contained too much information to capture the target audience’s attention. It performed ~3X less than the second ad, which had just enough information to spark curiosity and short enough to be absorbed while scrolling.

STEP FOUR: Track Conversions

If you’ve invested time and money in determining your target and creating great content, you’ll want to make sure you track conversions. This is what you’ll need:

  • If you are tracking site visits or conversions, create a Twitter tag and add them to your Tailored Ads so you can retarget them later or exclude them from other targeting. A tracking code in the landing page and one for the successful thank-you page works best so you can see how many users reached your webpage and how many actually signed up.
  • If you’re doing app installs, you need a programmer to set up Fabric for you.

STEP FIVE: Monitor Your Campaign

After launching the campaign: Check it at least every 2 days for the first week and then once every week. We check ours every day, sometimes more than once if we’re experimenting with new creatives or ad type. Look out for which platforms are performing, which gender or location is performing, which tweets are performing and refine accordingly. Aim for an engagement rate of 1.5-2%, depending on what you’re promoting. For fun content (release of a blockbuster movie, download of a free coupon or fun app) it should be closer to 5%.



  • Twitter gives every campaign a “trial” phase where it displays your ads to a lot of people as soon as you launch it. This can last a few hours or up to 2 days. If your campaign has stopped getting impressions, simply copy and recreate your older campaign and modify those select tweets that were performing poorly.
  • If your tweets perform well, it should result in a lot of impressions to support Twitter’s goal of providing a good experience to its users.
  • If you have a tweet that has resulted in a lot of engagement organically, promote it. Twitter rewards well performing tweets.

Don’t be afraid of including Twitter in your media mix. Using the steps above you’ll get off to a great start. And once you have some campaigns under your belt, you can consider further refining your targeting and personalization using social intelligence.