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Twitter Ads for Beginners

Twitter Ads for Beginners

Our Twitter Advertising Guide will teach you how to create and optimize successful Twitter ads – from setting up an account to creating your first campaign.

Twitter may not be the first social network you think of when thinking about your social advertising strategy. But keep in mind that Twitter ads can reach a potential audience of up to 486 million users.

Ad formats range from very simple to very complex. There is no minimum spending.

With all that in mind, it's time to incorporate Twitter Ads into your promotional mix. Our Twitter Ads Beginner's Guide walks you through everything you need to know to start your first Twitter ad campaign today.

Types of Twitter ads

Twitter Ads for Beginners STUDYSHOOT

Twitter Sponsored Ads

Previously known as Promoted Tweets, Promoted Ads on Twitter were very similar to regular Tweets.

What's different is that the advertiser is paying to show the content to people who don't already follow that advertiser on Twitter.

Like regular tweets, they can be liked, retweeted, and commented on. But they are labeled as an advertisement: they will always say “Upgraded” in the bottom left corner.

Promoted ads come in different forms including different types of media.

  • Text ads: It looks like a basic tweet, without additional media components.
  • Display ads: Include one photo.
  • Video ads: Like the Oreo example above, these ads include a single video. The video will repeat if it is less than 60 seconds.
  • Announcements of the moment: A curated collection of Tweets allows you to tell a longer story.
  • Twitter Live Ads: Promoted Live Stream.
  • Carousel ads: Includes up to six horizontally scrollable photos or videos. 

Follower ads on Twitter

Formerly known as Promoted Accounts, this type of Twitter ad allows you to promote your brand's entire Twitter account. It targets users who don't already follow your brand and can help grow your business' Twitter following.

Follower ads are displayed in the timelines of potential followers. The ad will also appear in “Who to follow” suggestions and in search results.

In addition to labeling them to show they've been promoted, they also include a follow button.

Amplify Pre-roll ads

Twitter Amplify Pre-roll allows your brand to place pre-roll video ads on content from 15+ categories from pre-vetted, brand-safe publishers.

Twitter advertising specifications

Twitter Ads for Beginners STUDYSHOOT

Here's everything you need to know about what makes up each type of Twitter ad, from the number of characters to the size of your Twitter ad.

Note that a link is 23 characters long, so assuming your ad contains a link, you'll actually get 257 characters instead of 280.

Text ads

  • Tweet text: 280 characters.

Display ads

  • Tweet text: 280 characters
  • Image size: 1200 x 1200 pixels or 1200 x 628 pixels unless you add features like chat buttons, in which case the size is 800 x 418 pixels
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1 or 1.91:1
  • Accepted file types: PNG or JPEG
  • Maximum file size: 5 MB

Video ads

  • Tweet text: 280 characters.
  • Video size: 1200 x 1200 pixels or 1920 x 1080 pixels unless you add features like chat buttons, in which case the size is 800 x 450 pixels
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1 or 16:9
  • Video length: Maximum 2:20, but Twitter recommends 15 seconds or less
  • Accepted file types: MP4 or MOV
  • Maximum file size: 1GB, but Twitter highly recommends keeping the file under 30MB
  • Thumbnail file types: PNG or JPEG
  • Maximum thumbnail size: 5 MB

Image carousel ads

  • Number of slices: 2–6
  • Image size: 800 x 418 pixels or 800 x 800 pixels
  • Video size: 800 x 450 pixels or 800 x 800 pixels
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1 or 1.91:1 for images; 1:1 or 16:9 for videos
  • Accepted file types: PNG, JPEG, MP4 and MPV

Follower Ads

  • Tweet text: 280 characters.
  • Follower ads automatically display a follower card, which does not include photos or videos (other than your Twitter profile and banner images).

Twitter Live

  • Event page version: 280 characters
  • Video size: 1200 x 720 pixels recommended; 1920 x 1080 max

Twitter ads cost

Twitter Ads for Beginners STUDYSHOOT

There is no minimum spend on Twitter Ads, so you can pay as much or as little as you want.

But that doesn't mean the cost of Twitter ads is entirely up to you. Like most social media platforms, Twitter runs its ads on an auction system. You specify the bid you are willing to pay for a specific action, as well as the daily budget for your campaign.

If someone does something different than your goal, you don't have to pay. 

So, if you're running a followers campaign and someone likes your paid tweet but doesn't follow back, you won't incur any cost.

In general, the higher your bid, the more likely your ad will be shown to your target audience. But this is not the only factor. When considering which ads to show, Twitter also takes into account how attractive your ad is. Reaching a high-demand audience will also be more expensive.

In terms of dollars and cents, most Twitter ad objectives cost between $0.50 and $3.00 per action, according to AdEspresso.

How to set up an advertising campaign on Twitter

Twitter Ads for Beginners STUDYSHOOT

The first step. Choose your advertising objective

Log in to your Twitter account and head to the Twitter Ads Manager on To start. You'll start by defining what you want to achieve with your Twitter ads.

As mentioned above, the campaign objective you choose determines the types of engagement and actions you will pay for.

In this example, we'll go through a campaign to increase followers and build an audience for your account.

Clicking on the goal will take you to the campaign details screen. 

Here, name your campaign, choose how to pay for it, and set your campaign budget.

Once you have made your selections, click “tاMine"..

The second step. Set up your ad set and bids

For your first Twitter ad campaign, you'll probably want to stick to one ad set. But as you get more comfortable with Twitter Ads, divide your campaign into categories to target different audiences, use different creatives, or test different budgets and timings.

Name your ad set and set a start and end time, or allow your ad set to run indefinitely.

Here, you'll also choose how much you're willing to pay for each interaction. If you choose Autobid, Twitter will set your bid to get the best results at the lowest price based on your budget. This is a great way to get started if you're new to Twitter Ads and want to get a good understanding of how bidding works.

The third step. Target your audience and choose the placements you want

Targeting options help you choose the right audience for your ad and maximize your budget.

You will start by targeting the population. Define your audience by gender, age, location, language, and technology.

With geo-targeted location, you can be as specific as a specific metro area or even a zip code. Or you can go broad and target an entire country. The technology component allows you to target by device, carrier or operating system.

The Targeting Features section allows you to target your ad to users based on events, interests, behaviors, and even specific topics and TV shows users have tweeted about.

To help guide you, the interface provides an estimated summary of audience size that changes as you add more targeting options to your campaign.

You can also choose to upload your own list of people (such as your email list), or choose to target people similar to your follower base. If you want to use Twitter Ads for remarketing to reach people who have already interacted with your business, you can upload a list or create a custom audience based on website activity.

At the bottom of this screen, you'll choose where you want your ads to appear.

Once you have made your selection, click “tاMine".

Step 4. Create your ads

Now that you've set up the framework for your campaign, it's time to create some ads.

You can use an existing Tweet as an ad, or create a new ad by filling out the fields on the ad details screen.

You'll see a preview of your ad as you work.

When you are satisfied with your ad, click “tاMine".

Step 5. Start your campaign

Finally, review all the options you selected. Click Launch Campaign to launch your ad.

And that's it!