What Are Promoted Tweets?

By Tinuiti Team

Promoted Tweets For Retailers

Twitter is similar to Pinterest in many ways, especially in that users follow others they do not know in order to keep up with what is interesting and cool.

At the same time, while Pinterest is now seen as more of a shopping engine, Twitter is best categorized as more of a source to get the latest news and updates as it happens in real time―a “fire hose” of information.

advertising on twitterAs we mentioned in the Part 1 of our series, “Everything You Need to Know About Pinterest Promoted Pins“,  and Part 2, “How to Advertise on Instagram“,  social commerce and paid advertising now falls onto the plate of most Marketing Managers.

Below we discuss how retailers can advertise on Twitter using Promoted Tweets and other paid advertising efforts, but before we do – let’s take a closer look at the best practices for a successful organic marketing with shared insight from AddShoppers.

Advertising on Twitter: Organic Marketing

While Pinterest is an extremely visual tool, Twitter is focused mainly on text. So what does this mean in the eCommerce world? When developing Pinterest strategies, the image is your focus, but when developing Tweets for your brand, clever copy should be your focus.

If the following best practices for Twitter are used, you’ll be set-up to take full advantage of opportunities to generate more traffic on Twitter.

While you can include images up to 5mb, copy is the part of a tweet that needs to make an impact. Remember, you have just 140 characters to do this, so make sure it’s clever, clear, and inclusive of a call to action.

In the Pinterest section we shared that hashtags aren’t very valuable on this network. The opposite is true on Twitter, where the hashtag was first popularized. Utilize hashtags to help categorize your Tweet for Twitter searchers.

AddShoppers’ network stats show that Twitter’s impact on eCommerce remains heavy, but has decreased slightly, most likely due to recent Pinterest growth.

*Unlike Pinterest, Twitter lost a share of its overall percentage of traffic driven to eCommerce sites from 2013 to 2015: 44% and 34% respectively.

*All time and across all verticals, Pinterest traffic converts at 0.62% on average with a $159.40 average order value.

Advertising on Twitter: Paid Marketing

Now, that we’ve covered the basics of organic marketing let’s dive into the options for retailers in Twitter paid marketing.

There are three types of Twitter Ads:

Promoted Trends: Promoted Trends put a sponsored topic at the top of Twitter’s “trending topics” box, which reflects the most-discussed topics on Twitter at any given time.

Promoted Accounts: Twitter suggests users for people to follow; promoted accounts puts these accounts at the top of the queue and are a way for brands to gain more followers.

Promoted Tweets: This is the big one. Promoted Tweets are tweets that are ads. They show up at the top of searches on related topics, at the top of a user’s timeline when the user follows the account and, soon, everywhere.

Below we will discuss in more detail the advantages of using Promoted Tweets to advertise your products.

advertising on twitter

What are Promoted Tweets?

Promoted Tweets are ordinary Tweets purchased by advertisers who want to reach a wider group of users or to spark engagement from their existing followers. Promoted Tweets are clearly labeled as Promoted when an advertiser is paying for their placement on Twitter.

Pro-Tip: In every other respect, Promoted Tweets act just like regular Tweets and can be retweeted, replied to, liked and more as seen in the example below:

promoted tweet

When Should Retailer’s Use Promoted Tweets?

Promoted Tweets are regular Tweets with the added bonus that they can reach more people who are interested in your business. They should be used to place your best content in front of the audience that matters to you at the right time.

If your goal is: to drive a particular action via Twitter, Promoted Tweets are a great place to promote engaging content that includes a call to action to users. Using Promoted Tweets you can:


If your goal is: to drive awareness for your business, Promoted Tweets can do this in a variety of ways:


Where do Promoted Tweets Appear?



Promoted Tweets Expands Call to Action (CTAs) Options

Retailers should definitely take advantage of Twitter’s expanded call to action buttons since they typically have more options to choose from rather than just “shop now”.

Twitter’s targeting capability is also advanced and retailers have the opportunity to go beyond targeting just females or males. Instead, Twitter advertisers can target live events such as The Emmys or the Super Bowl.

They can also target specific Twitter handles to capture traffic related to specific social media influencers. Although Twitter continues to reign as one of social media’s heavy hitters, it does not necessarily have the same impact as Facebook and Instagram advertising, specifically in the areas of retail.

The paid advertising program has been around for quite some time, so it is considered advanced. Yet, many marketers see Twitter as a small advertising paid channel with low volume, low conversions and average CPCs (average .40 per click).

Although the one area we have seen significant growth is in impression share.

Promoted Tweets Introduces New CTA: Conversational Ads

In January 2016, Twitter introduced advertisers to a new CTA called “conversational ads” as a way to drive more earned media and brand influence.

According to the announcement, ” These formats, exclusive to Twitter, make it even easier for consumers to engage with and then spread a brand’s campaign message. It’s a powerful way for advertisers to extend their presence across Twitter.”

Conversational ads incorporate call to action buttons with customizable hashtags that encourage consumer engagement. As seen in the example below, when a call to action button is tapped, the Tweet composer opens with a pre-populated brand message accompanied by the creative and hashtag buttons. The consumer can then personalize the Tweet and share it with his or her followers.

promoted tweets

As a thank you, the consumer then receives a message from the brand for having engaged with the Tweet. Lastly, the new Tweet appears to the consumer’s followers in their timelines, and it includes the brand’s original photo or video.

Each shared Tweet is powerful because it drives earned media for the brand at no extra cost, resulting in higher ROI. Additionally, research has shown that organic conversation about a brand delivers significant value for advertisers.

*Conversational ads are currently available in beta for select advertisers in all markets.

Best Practices For Promoted Pins

Avoid Suggested Bids

Similar to Facebook and Instagram, retailers should avoid using Twitter’s suggested bids. This amount is typically inflated.

Leverage Hashtags

Hashtags are another great way for Twitter users to find your advertisement. This is also replicated in the organic Twitter advertising section and Instagram advertising.

Monitor Traffic & Use A/B Testing

Advertisers should monitor the amount of traffic their ads receive. Start with a modest monthly budget and try out various call to actions such as shop now vs. buy now. Track your results so you will have a better idea of what advertising efforts prove to be a success.

Paid Twitter Advertising Campaign Set Up


Objectives for Paid Twitter Campaigns


Twitter campaigns provide robust targeting options to reach your ideal customers based on their interest, demographics, device types, behaviors and more.

Targeting options currently available include:

• Device, Carrier, and new mobile user targeting
• Event Targeting
• Geo, gender, and language targeting,
• Installed App Category targeting
• Interest and username targeting
• Keyword targeting


Marketers can select or create a few Tweets to promote and set a budget. There’s no minimum spend level and you will only pay for results that align to your campaign objective.

Example: Website and Conversion Campaigns―only pay for clicks that send a user to your website from your Tweet.

As mentioned in the Twitter Organic Advertising section, the Twitter community wants instant news on sports, music, politics, etc. As paid advertisers, the marketing strategy with Twitter is slightly different compared to other social networks such as Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.

A good way to explain paid advertising on Twitter is to think of a sports retailer who sells team jerseys. If you monitor sports closely, you will see trends specifically during certain game times. For example, if the Patriots win the playoffs at 2pm on Sunday, you might want to run a special
offer (at that day and time) advertising Patriots gear to excited fans talking about the big win.


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