The Hidden Value of Twitter Advertising

Advertisers have been slowly giving up on Twitter ads in the last six months. But rather than giving up, we recommend advertisers step up to the challenges by diving into data and synchronizing account structures and audiences.

Twitter and Facebook ads go hand-in-hand. We can accomplish many of the same goals on both platforms whether it’s building an audience or gathering leads (note: The only objectives that Facebook has and Twitter does not is raising attendance at events, getting people to claim your offer, and promoting product catalogs). Besides the millions of audiences at your fingertips, Facebook and Twitter have both proven to be more creative and visual alternatives to show off your products and services than simple search and display advertising.

However, perhaps a few weeks after launching, you may realize that Twitter is three times more expensive per click than Facebook. Don’t throw in the towel until you fully understand the data beyond Twitter’s interface and realize the value-added in its audience building.

Dive into Data Not Found in Twitter

Using Google Analytics can go a long way in getting past the sticker shock of Twitter’s cost per click and give a better idea of the value of different advertising platforms. Through setting up consistent UTM tracking across campaigns (hint: use this URL building tool), we can compare other data points besides cost per click that directly align with campaign goals. For example, for one of our clients with a brand awareness objective, Twitter’s average time per user session has consistently been five times higher than Facebook. With more time on the site, the user that we spent $3 on is much more likely to engage with this client in the future, compared to the three Facebook users we spent $3 on. If we had focused solely on cost per click, we would have missed the higher value activity we were getting from Twitter compared to Facebook.

Assess your campaign’s objective and determine whether continuing Twitter is right for your client or business. If you’re not sure what additional metrics you should be tracking, here are two suggestions for diving deeper into data:

  • Compare average time per session, bounce rate, and pages per session for Twitter to all advertising.
  • Set up events and goals for social buttons, newsletter sign-ups, and whatever you think might be valuable.

Synchronize Account Structure & Audiences

Trying to manage an advertising campaign on Twitter is a huge headache compared to the relative ease of Facebook. The Twitter ads platform is missing the ability to create more than one theme or ad group/set within a campaign, which makes executing messy for advertisers.

For example, if my objective is to get people to my site targeting NFL football, college football, and basketball fans, I create one campaign in Facebook. However, in Twitter I have to create three: one for NFL, one for college, and one for basketball. The simple workaround has been to treat Twitter campaigns like Facebook Ad Sets, but this creates a headache when reporting at a high scale for multiple objectives and creative sets.

So, the bad news is: to get better data, you’ll need to skip the workaround and put the time in to separating these themes on Twitter. The good news: Twitter is currently beta testing their new user interface, and future versions may allow advertisers to create an account structure similar to Facebook Ads Manager.

Building Audiences the Twitter Way

Compared with Facebook, targeting an audience with Twitter ads can seem daunting, but this is where Twitter advertising really shines.

Imagine a campaign targeting live music lovers as it would be built in Facebook and in Twitter. Facebook has a really useful toolbar in which you can pick the interests, behaviors, and demographics related to users who attend or interact online with live music. However, when you look at Twitter, you will notice Twitter’s interest and behavioral audiences might not be as in-depth as Facebook’s. Many advertisers stop here, but there are other methods of building this live music loving audience specific to Twitter ads.  

Instead, you might include people with interests similar to followers of Sirius XM Jam On or Butlin’s Live Music Weekends. You could also use event targets such as Austin City Limits or iHeartRadio Music Festival to help expand the reach to even more live music lovers. These unique targeting methods double the potential audience and, in our experience, yield better engagement results. And while they don't need to be used in tandem, doing so helps grow the pool of relevant users. This is especially true for event targeting, which reaches audiences in the moment they are most engaged in content related to the event they're attending. Once launched, don’t forget to check in on how each audience is performing.

We can all agree that Facebook is the leader of social advertising, but looking deeper into Twitter data, adapting campaigns to Twitter’s account structure, and leveraging its unique audience building capabilities helps advertisers like us understand why it may come at a higher sticker price.