What I Learned from Running Ads on Twitter

If you think that running ads on Twitter is a bad idea, I feel your pain. Twitter was one of the last pure platforms, and with the roll out of ads it has become certainly more commercial.

Twitter has ads? Maybe that sucks.

I spend money on ads to let people know about workshops and classes. It has helped build my network a little faster and help me meet new people.

I’ve tried Stumbleupon placements, reddit ads, Facebook Ads and Google Adwords, too. Right now, Twitter is working the best for me. I’m able to target audiences precisely. I get the bonus of people following me after the they look at an ad. I like the variety of ads that I can run. (I’ll go into that in depth in a moment.) I have run very few ads on my personal feed (@docuguy) because I think that feed’s personality is best suited to blog links, news about social change, political humor, and, yes, baby pictures.

The audience I want to reach with ads is following the Red Cup feed (@redcupagency). That feed contains startup news, articles about entrepreneurship, and business advice. My view is that Twitter feeds need to be precisely focused to their audience. The Red Cup audience will welcome the ads because they’re about useful things, like workshops and courses. So you’ll need to keep your ads consistent with the personality of the feed is what I’m saying.

What kinds of ads can you run on Twitter?

Twitter contacted me a while ago and assigned a dedicated rep to walk me through the kinds of ads that are possible. The rep reviews the ads  with me and makes suggestions. This has helped me a lot. I knew, before working with Twitter on this, that images were important – Twitter is displaying them across the whole width of the feed, so they are eye-grabbers. But the problem with images is that people click on them to make them bigger, and then they go nowhere – you get no web traffic from that, nor do you provide people the opportunity to learn more about you.

Lead Generation Cards on Twitter solve that problem. With a Lead Generation card, the user can click through to your website. Even better, through the magic of Twitter, their email, name and Twitter handle are pre-populated in a little form, so if they want to join your list, that’s one click away. Fewer clicks equals more conversions. If you use MailChimp, those leads can be sent right to your list.

Website Cards on Twitter present the viewer with an image you choose that is expressive of your company, and viewers can click through to your site, or better yet, a landing page that allows you to collect some info.

Both kinds of cards are connected to Twitter posts, and you need to exercise all the creativity you’ve got to write a good lead in to your image. If you write just anything you’ll get a lot of people clicking through who are not your target. If you get it right, you get people who really appreciate what you have to share.

The  results.

It’s been a good adventure so far, and at a fraction of the cost of Google AdWords with good rates of conversion.