What are Promoted Tweets and 7 Tips to Leverage Them for Twitter Marketing

What are Promoted Tweets and 7 Tips to Leverage Them for Twitter Marketing

Wait: You’re investing lots of $$$ in Facebook Ads but you’ve never considered promoted tweets through Twitter advertising?

If this is you and you want to know what you might be missing out on, keep reading!

No matter what kind of brand you have, social media marketing is increasingly important. After all, consumers spend a lot of time on social media, and these networks are a larger source of information (and product advice) than ever. However, Twitter is one network that’s lost the cool factor as young people seem to gravitate elsewhere and the platform becomes more political.

Just because Twitter isn’t as cool as it used to be doesn’t mean it isn’t a great marketing tool, though. Twitter is a powerful social media platform with more than 320 million active users. If you’re not leveraging Twitter for your marketing efforts, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. One of the most effective ways to use Twitter for marketing is through promoted tweets. In this article, we’ll explain what promoted tweets are and how you can use them to boost your Twitter marketing strategy.

3 Different Ways to Advertise on Twitter

There are three distinctly different ways to advertise on Twitter. Each of these has different uses and is formatted differently. Keep in mind, that you can use multiple types per campaign.

promoted trends on twitter #disneyplus example

Twitter offers promoted trends (also known as Trend Takeovers) as a way for businesses to reach a large group of potential customers. Promoted trends appear at the top of the list of trending topics on Twitter, and they are clearly marked as promoted. When a user clicks on a promoted trend, they will see tweets from both businesses and regular users that are related to the trend. Promoted trends are an effective way to reach a large audience on Twitter, and they can help to increase brand awareness and generate new leads.

This option has a distinct advantage: it lets people see the conversation about the trend that’s been promoted. For this reason, it’s easier to deliver your brand message without having to convert it into a different kind of content, for example. Your audience will also get to see the genuine feedback of happy customers.

Promoted Accounts

twitter promoted accounts example Invesco US @InvescoUS

Promoted Accounts (also known as Follower Ads) are Twitter accounts that businesses and organizations pay to have promoted in users’ timelines in certain countries. Promoted Accounts appear in the same format as any other Twitter account and can be Promoted to people who do not already follow the Promoted Account. Promoted Accounts must comply with the Twitter Rules and Promoted Tweets from Promoted Accounts must comply with the Twitter Ads Terms of Service. Promoted Accounts are labeled as “Promoted” when appearing on timelines on Twitter.com, Twitter for iPhone, and Twitter for Android. Promoted Accounts also appear on some partner websites. Promotions for Promoted Accounts are separate from Promotions for Promoted Tweets.

As you can imagine, promoting an account that you control is a good way to boost your followers. In addition, you’ll get more engagement because of the larger number of people who see your Tweets. While this method can work well in many situations, an especially good time to use it is when you’re launching a new product or related brand.

Further Reading: 14 Twitter Bio Ideas to Attract More Followers

Promoted Tweets

promoted tweets example Volkswagen ID.4. @VW

Promoted tweets are tweets that Twitter users pay to have promoted in the Twitter feeds of other users. By paying to promote their tweets, advertisers hope to reach a larger audience and generate more engagement (likes, retweets, etc.). Promoted tweets generally appear at the top of a user’s feed, and they are clearly labeled as promoted content. While some users may find promoted tweets annoying, others appreciate being exposed to new products and brands. Either way, promoted tweets are here to stay – so it’s best to learn how they work.

Fortunately, the Promoted Tweets are easy to use and (relatively) non-intrusive, especially compared to banner ads. Like the ads at the top of a Gmail page, it’s easy to move on from the promoted Tweets if someone isn’t interested, and the Tweet won’t be visually distracting.

Further Reading: The Top 21 Twitter User Statistics for 2024 to Guide Your Marketing Strategy

7 Tips to Best Leverage Sponsored Tweets for Twitter Marketing

Just because there are sponsored Tweets options doesn’t mean you can buy them blindly and expect results. Just like everything else in social media marketing, and indeed marketing in general, you need to plan ahead. Here are the ways you can try and maximize your ROI.

Select Your Business Objective

Before you buy promoted Tweets of any kind, it’s important to know what your business objective is. For example, you might find that you want to boost brand awareness through Twitter. If that’s what you want, then promoting your account might be a good way to go about it. On the other hand, if your goal is to get people to take advantage of your Black Friday sale, promoted Tweets are an excellent option, because you’ll publish a Tweet about the sale.

Here’s a look at Twitter’s current ads offering broken down by objective:

twitter ads campaign objective breakdown

Know Your Audience

You will need to specify who you want to target, so knowing your audience will allow you to target better and have more effective advertising. In marketing, we call this a buyer persona, and there’s a chance you have more than one of them if your product line is diverse enough. For instance, a computer company has a buyer persona for business machine buyers, gamers, and for home users.

There’s a bit more to knowing your audience than buyer persona, though. You need to know what kind of Tweet they’re more likely to respond to. A busy executive might not like being pulled into the promoted trend. Finally, you need to avoid pitfalls that will make you look tone-deaf or offend your audience. Analytics does this better than anything.

If you’re not familiar with audience targeting in Twitter Ads, here’s a snapshot of what is possible:

twitter ads targeting features

Choose the Tweet(s) You Would Like to Promote.

Once you’ve decided on your objectives, it’s time to select your promoted Tweets. You can use a new Tweet, select something from the recent past, or utilize some evergreen content. For instance, right now with the world in turmoil something uplifting could be a great driver for brand awareness.

Of course, it’s important to remember that promoted Tweets must adhere to the same rules as all the others. For instance, you still only get 280 characters, and you still have limits on features like thumbnails. Then again, if your objective is to drive site traffic through linking, Twitter’s one of the best places to do it.

Further Reading: How to Find My Top Tweets – and Those from My Competitors – on Twitter?

Customize Your Promoted Tweet on Where You Want Them to Appear

Next, you want to make sure that your promoted Tweets match with your goals and are given to the people you want them to. For instance, you’ll want to write any new Tweets to appeal to that audience. In addition, you should select the desired scope within the Twitter advertising console. For instance, you might select men ages 50-65, or women who love luxury travel. Another approach might be to serve your ad to people who are interested in a competitor, as a way of trying to draw their interest in your direction instead.

Of course, it’s also possible to cast a wide net. For instance, during the Presidential elections every four years, you’ll see political ads that target the entire country. As a result, you’ll usually see ads from both sides. Or, during the “back to school” season, most retail brands do a lot of advertising to almost everyone, since even people without kids can benefit from the discounts. In the end, though, your goal is to maximize ROI by choosing the right people to get your promoted Tweets.

Include A Call to Action

Advertising isn’t much good if you don’t get people to take the desired action. On Twitter, this often involves clicking through to a landing page. Alternatively, some promoted Tweets can ask for a Follow or for a share. Once again, political Tweets provide a good example: lobbyists and special interest groups are always asking people to share their Tweets with their friends. The algorithm only goes so far!

Of course, some calls to action are harder to track, such as checking out a sale in-store or online. While the landing pages will help establish that people are shopping online, they don’t work for in-store shopping. Likewise, there are situations where direct tracking is more difficult, like recruitment ads. Either way, make sure your CTA matches your overall business objectives.

Further Reading: 7 Insanely Effective Ways How to Write Tweets that Drive Traffic

Perform A/B Testing

To get the best bang for your buck, it’s important to do A/B testing. This technique analyzes two separate pieces of content and sees which one should be more effective. In the case of promoted Tweets, proper A/B testing should consider both the main text and the hashtags. Sometimes you can drastically increase ROI with a few minor tweaks.

Measure and Optimize Results

Finally, you’ll want to measure the results of your Promoted Tweets so you can improve them later. For many companies, measuring results involves using a social media marketing suite or dashboard. This is especially true because there are hundreds, even thousands, of data points across the platforms. And part of measuring results involves pinpointing one or two data points.

Want an example of how this works? Hootsuite did an experiment to see which promoted Tweets did better, choosing between Tweets that had a picture, versus one with a link preview. Their result was that including a picture gets better results. Of course, as with everything, your mileage may vary.

Further Reading: How to Best Leverage Twitter Cards to Generate More Traffic from Your Tweets


As you can see, promoted Tweets are a little more complicated than most people outside the marketing world would think. Fortunately, by following these seven steps, you can get better results even in the short run. Then, be sure to track your results and adjust for better performance next time.

Hero photo by Ravi Sharma on Unsplash

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Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in late 2019 will publish his 4th book, The Business of Influence (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.

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