Chapter 10: How to Advertise on Twitter for eCommerce Businesses

Why You Should Consider Advertising on Twitter

On average, Twitter users shop online 6.9x a month, while non-users shop online just 4.3x a month.

And there’s particularly good news for smaller businesses: Twitter reports that 60% of users purchase from an SMB.

Beyond direct conversion, Twitter is a popular resource for customers along the purchasing funnel.

Nearly half (49%) of female Twitter users say Twitter content has influenced their purchase decisions –– while only 7% have made a purchase through Twitter.

On the other hand, 17% of men reported in a BigCommerce survey that they’d purchased something directly from a Tweet in their timeline.

The data speaks for itself: Twitter is prime real estate for brands wanting to increase conversion, revenue and social proof (e.g., customer reviews via social media).

The advertising platform represents a wide variety of interests and demographics, and is particularly relevant for college-educated audiences under 50.

Some 36% of Twitter users visit the site daily, with 22% saying they go on Twitter several times a day.

We’ve broken down exactly what you need to know to start advertising on Twitter and generating brand awareness, new customers and ROI for your brand.

Your Twitter Advertising Options

Twitter offers objective-based campaigns, in which brands only pay for the actions that align with their goals and expand their reach.

Those goals are often to gain:

  • New followers
  • Website clicks or conversions
  • App installations or engagements
  • Tweet engagements (retweets, favorites, replies, etc.)
  • Leads on Twitter

For the most part, website click campaigns are the most effective for retailers.

With this option, Twitter users can follow your brand from a promoted post/ad as well as immediately click through back to your site.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what that is and how it works.

  • Website Clicks Campaign
Website Clicks Campaign

A website clicks or conversions campaign allows you to use a website card or an app card with your promoted tweets.

Twitter Sample

Similar to website cards, image app cards offer a choice of call-to-action (CTA) buttons, an image and a headline to let you drive traffic to your site directly from a tweet.

Promoted tweets with image app cards drive 43% more engagement than just tweeting out a link.

  • Tweet copy: 116 characters
  • Image size: 800 x 320 pixels (max 3mb)
  • File types: PNG and JPEG
  • Title/price: Pulled from store
  • Call to action options: Install (default if app is not installed), Open (default if app is installed), Play, Shop, Book, Connect and Order
twitter app card

You can also use a basic app card, which removes the image in place of a custom icon image.

Here is an example provided by Twitter.

  • Tweet copy: 116 characters
  • Custom icon image size: 144 x 144 pixels
  • File types: PNG and JPEG are recommended.
  • Title/price: Pulled from store
  • Call to action options: Install (default if app is not installed), Open (default if app is installed), Play, Shop, Book, Connect and Order

With both options, you’ll only pay for clicks to your website, and you can set up online conversion tracking to see every dollar spent.

You can also set up remarketing based on people who have already visited your site.

Optimize Your Twitter Ad Spend

People who follow brands on Twitter generally really like those brands, and are more inclined not only to purchase from them, but to communicate with them on a 1:1 basis as well.

So, to maximize your Twitter ads, here are some best practices:

  • Don’t overthink it: On Twitter, it’s best to keep it simple. You only have 140 characters, so the shorter your message, the better. Twitter reports that tweets with less than 120 characters see on average an 8% engagement lift and tweets with less than 100 characters see an 18% engagement boost than those at 140 characters. Be concise and see results.
  • Make it visual: Adding an image or other rich media to your tweets can get you a 313% lift in engagement and a 52% increase in retweets. Even more impressive, tweets using Vine saw a 256% increase. So, get creative and use gifs, Vine or other multimedia outlets to increase ad engagement.
  • Be approachable and human: People are more likely to interact when they know they’re having a conversation with a human. Treat your social media audience with a personable and somewhat humorous lens since personality helps people identify with a brand. According to Twitter, 70% of users retweet because they like the business’s content.
  • Extend the conversation: Don’t force yourself into the conversation –– work to keep it going. Twitter reported that people who responded to @ handles only 1x per week saw an 18% engagement above those who did not respond to their followers. How can you extend the conversation? Take advantage of trending hashtags. What are people talking about and how can you relate it back to your brand?
  • Use a Website Card: Website Cards allow you to give users much more context, priming them for the click through to your site. Also, when you click the image on a Website Card, it acts as a link and drives people to your site. Normally, clicking on an image in a tweet would only expand the image. In addition to being Twitter verified, a Website Card gives you more clickable real estate, increasing clickthrough.

Once you start implementing these tips, take some time to analyze how they changed your social engagement and advertising success.

Remember, your strategy should always involve monitoring, publishing and reporting.

Once you figure out what works best for your brand, double down and continue to iterate.

Test Out Conversational Ads

twitter conversational ads

Similar to Instagram’s carousel ads, Twitter allows brands to use conversational ads to tell a better story about their brand or product.

There’s a big difference here though: Twitter’s conversational ad plays up the platforms conversational tone.

Brands can ask questions, interact with customers and automate a thank you process that pushes users back to the page or encourages them to follow the brand.

Just be sure that if you use this type of ad, you have someone actually responding to users and interacting!

Use gifs, graphics and storytelling techniques to move Twitter users through a conversational funnel.

Use trending topics to determine popular conversations –– or know that Twitter trends are often centered around news activity.

Here’s the specific information you’ll need to know for this ad type:

  • Tweet copy: 116 characters
  • Hashtag: 21 characters
  • Pre-populated user Tweet: 116 characters
  • Headline: 23 characters
  • Thank you text: 23 characters
  • Thank you URL (optional): 23 characters
  • Image Specs (if used): File size: 3 MB, Aspect ratio: 5:2, Image width / height: 800 X 320PX, File formats: JPEG, PNG, non-animated GIFs

The Twitter Shopping Funnel

Twitter is a very different social channel than your Facebook or Pinterests of the world, especially when it comes to marketing and advertising campaigns.

In general, the active audience is more educated and professionally inclined.

For instance, journalists are heavy users of the platform.

Combining knowledge of the platform with your target audience can help you to determine the type of content and product you advertise.

Tech and gadgets will likely do well –– as will any items that help to busy professionals live less busy lives.

Write your content to that target audience!

Bottom Line:

In all, listen, respond and connect with your Twitter audience.

Provide valuable insights, information and service –– and let your ads do the conversion work for you.

Whether you’re a small business or an emerging multi-million dollar brand, there is a Twitter advertising campaign that can help grow your business.