The Twitter platform is truly unique in the world of social media marketing, placing a strong emphasis on user engagement, real-time interactions, and direct brand communications.
If you want to launch high-performing Twitter ads, there are several key elements to consider, from your creative assets to your bidding strategies.
However, one of the most important aspects of successful Twitter marketing is audience targeting.
Twitter offers several intelligent targeting options that can help you to reach and convert valuable prospects at scale. With the right targeting strategy, you can launch insanely efficient campaigns that enable you to crush your key business objectives.
So how does Twitter advertising targeting actually work? And which targeting tactics will allow your brand to drive significant growth on the Twitter platform?
Let’s run through the fundamentals of Twitter audience targeting, and explain how you can maximise the performance of your ad campaigns.
What is Twitter ads targeting?
The Twitter audience is enormous, with around 196m monetizable users active on the platform every single day.
Twitter ads targeting is crucial in helping marketers to focus on the most relevant and profitable segments within this wider audience.
Smart targeting helps brands to improve the efficiency of their Twitter ad campaigns, reducing wasted ad spend and maximising the impact of their budget. To help advertisers reach the right audiences, Twitter offers a variety of targeting tactics that are fuelled by different data points, from specific keywords to user behaviours and interests.
Running effective targeting is vital for launching successful Twitter ads campaigns.
If you’re looking for help with your Twitter ads and guidance on audience targeting, partnering with an experienced marketing agency is a smart move.
Twitter ad specialists can support you in identifying profitable audiences, optimising your campaigns, and skyrocketing the ROI you deliver through Twitter.
People use Twitter for a variety of different reasons, from discovering new content to Tweeting opinions and interacting with other users.
Keyword targeting allows you to target specific phrases that have been recently Tweeted or searched on the Twitter platform.
This is a great way to position your brand and products around relevant conversation topics, tapping into the mountains of fresh content that are constantly being created on Twitter.
You can use insights from different platforms (e.g. Google) to inform Keyword targeting on Twitter, but it’s also a good idea to experiment with different phrases.
By using Follower targeting, you can reach your own Twitter followers with paid ads, as well as followers of similar Twitter accounts and profiles.
Using paid ads to communicate with your own followers is a great way to share business updates and new product releases with an engaged audience.
With Follower Look-alikes targeting, you can also target users with interests similar to an account’s existing followers. You can use this tactic to try and conquer competitor audiences or reach certain Twitter account followers that are likely to have an interest in your product offering.
If you’re looking to target a wider demographic audience, you can utilise Gender and Age targeting on Twitter to build broad segments.
Twitter doesn’t explicitly ask users to confirm their gender, but the platform does gather data signals that allow brands to target with a strong degree of confidence.
Marketers can also set up specific age ranges for targeting, meaning you can launch multiple ad groups to test different age brackets.
Gender and Age targeting can be useful for narrowing down the wider Twitter user base, and these tactics are often combined with other options (e.g. Interest, Behaviour) to create more granular audience segments.
Twitter collects various data signals about language usage and profile settings to facilitate Language targeting on the platform.
This means that brands aren’t just restricted to targeting a single language through Twitter ads – they can also reach multilingual users.
Language targeting won’t necessarily be useful for every advertiser, but for specific products (and global events) this can be a handy option. Language targeting can also be combined with Location targeting for global brands that are looking to deliver relevant content to multiple audiences in different regions.
Location targeting is a great option for brands who are keen to advertise in a specific geographical area.
Twitter enables advertisers to geo-target their ads at the country, city, and postcode levels.
Location targeting offers a range of practical uses for Twitter brands. For example, you may be trying to drive foot traffic to a physical store location, or advertise a promotion that’s only available in a certain city.
Brands can be very strategic with Location targeting, and it’s a good idea to create ad copy and landing pages that are tailored to particular locations for maximum relevance.
Interest targeting is hugely popular on the Twitter platform, and with good reason – these tactics can help advertisers to reach high-quality audiences and deliver strong results.
Twitter collects a wide range of data signals from its users to create various ‘Interest’ categories that brands can target.
There are 25 broad Interest subjects for advertisers to target, with 350 sub-topics also available across these different categories. These Interest categories contain topics like Gaming, Sports, Travel, Beauty, and Technology.
Interest targeting is often combined with demographic targeting to help brands narrow down a wider audience. With a smart A/B testing strategy, you can quickly identify the Interest categories (and sub-topics) that deliver consistent clicks and conversions for your business.
Behaviour targeting is another tactic that many Twitter advertisers utilise to enhance ad campaign performance.
In a similar way to Interest targeting, Twitter collects various data signals around online and offline user behaviours to create Behaviour targeting opportunities.
This enables marketers to reach and convert users based on factors like their shopping habits, brand preferences, and digital browsing behaviours.
For example, if you’re a gym apparel brand, you may target people who have recently purchased exercise equipment. If you’re a luxury jewellery brand, you might target audiences with a high household income and relevant shopping behaviours.
Behaviour targeting is also similar to Interest targeting in that both tactics are often paired with broad audiences (e.g. Age, Gender) to improve efficiency and reach qualified prospects.
Device, Platform, & Wi-Fi Targeting
Brands can target Twitter audiences based on their mobile device, operating system, and mobile carrier.
Since Twitter offers a highly mobile audience, this can be a smart way for brands to refine their ad targeting and reach a specific type of user.
Some businesses may offer apps that are specifically designed for a certain type of device (e.g. iPhone) – with Device targeting, these brands can reduce wasted impressions and ensure that they’re reaching relevant audiences.
You can also target users with a new mobile device, which opens up further opportunities for smart advertising on Twitter. For instance, products like protective phone cases could be super relevant, or apps that users may want to install on a new phone.
Twitter is full of users sharing their thoughts, opinions, and perspectives on current news and hot topics – and many of these individuals also use emojis to express themselves.
By utilising Emoji targeting, you can target users based on specific emojis that they’ve used in their recent Tweets.
This may seem like a novelty, and it’s true that Emoji targeting probably won’t become a core component of your Twitter ads campaign – but with witty ad copy and a memorable creative asset, you can still enhance the visibility and relevance of your brand.
For instance, a fast food company could target the ‘burger’ emoji to try and appeal to hungry customers with a special promotion.
Emoji targeting isn’t suitable for every brand, but a quirky creative execution can be a great way to generate interest and engagement among your target audience.
Twitter is famous for the emphasis it places on real-time conversations and direct exchanges. The Twitter feed moves at lightning speed, with users and brands constantly replying to each other and publishing Tweets about a vast range of topics.
With Conversation targeting, you can tap into these social media conversations to reach high-value audiences and boost brand awareness in the right places.
Marketers using Conversation targeting can select from over 10,000 conversation topics across 25 popular categories, including Sports, Gaming, Lifestyle, and more.
With an engaging creative message and smart targeting, you can instantly inject your brand into active discussions and lively conversations to boost engagement.
Conversation targeting enables brands to capitalise on the mind-blowing amount of organic activity that takes place on Twitter, and this can generate exceptional results.
If your business is hosting (or participating in) an event, Event targeting is a great way to drum up interest and excitement on Twitter.
Whether it’s a physical event or a virtual event, you can utilise Event targeting to target relevant audiences, communicate with attendees, and effectively build hype. Twitter enables brands to choose from hundreds of global events to target, so there are plenty of opportunities to drive brand visibility.
You can target an event up to 2 weeks in advance to begin stirring up interest, and continue running ads for 3 weeks post-event to share highlights, drive action, and maintain engagement.
Tweet Engager Targeting
Tweet Engager targeting allows you to re-target users who have already seen (or interacted with) your previous ad campaigns or organic content.
This is a surefire way to reach warm prospects who are already familiar with your brand, which can help to drive cost-efficient clicks and conversions.
You can utilise Tweet Engager targeting in several different ways to benefit your business. For example, you can nudge potential customers along the sales funnel by re-targeting them with a compelling call-to-action or engage hot prospects with special promotions and discounts to drive conversions.
There are also several different re-targeting options available to advertisers.
You can run Tweet Engager campaigns based on impressions, link clicks, video views, profile clicks, and a number of other user engagements. If you’d like to run more granular messages, you can even retarget from an individual Tweet to reach specific audiences.
Movies & TV Targeting
Movies & TV targeting enables Twitter advertisers to reach people who are actively engaged with specific shows and films. Promoted Tweets can be delivered before, during, and after a broadcast to capture these viewers at different times with tailored messages.
Twitter collects various data signals on the platform to identify users that are likely to be viewing certain pieces of content. This is primarily focused on Tweets and hashtags that align with broadcast times and TV schedules.
Movies & TV targeting is often used by networks to amplify their promotional campaigns and generate buzz around new releases.
However, brands can also target relevant shows and movies if they feel like their target audiences overlap. There are opportunities for reactive and contextual product promotion here – but only for businesses with the right offering!
Twitter offers advertisers a wide range of different targeting tactics and audience options that can deliver outstanding results.
But when it comes to driving exceptional performance, Custom Audiences are some of the most powerful segments available on the Twitter platform.
Custom Audiences are built around various rich data sources (e.g. Twitter Pixel, CRM lists) that enable marketers to identify and target highly-granular user groups. Since Custom Audiences allow Twitter brands to reach their hottest prospects, they can often deliver jaw-dropping returns.
Let’s run through the primary types of Custom Audiences available to Twitter advertisers.
You can utilise List Audiences to target existing customers or subscribers through ads on Twitter. Brands can upload a list of email addresses to the Twitter platform, and match individuals against Twitter users to create a new Custom Audience.
You can also enter a list of specific Twitter handles to target relevant influencers and publishers.
Running List Audiences is a great way to communicate with your customers on a new platform, whether you’re looking to generate repeat business or grow your Twitter following.
Website Activity Audiences
By implementing the Twitter Pixel on your website, you can collect the data necessary to build highly effective Website Activity Audiences.
Retargeting recent website visitors is a fantastic way to reach engaged prospects and improve your Twitter conversion rate.
If you’re strategic when setting up your Twitter website tags, you can build super-specific audience segments and tailor your campaign messages accordingly. For instance, you can retarget users who have visited specific product pages with sales-led product ads, or deliver relevant CTAs depending on the pages that shoppers have visited.
The more personalised your Website Activity ads feel, the more likely they are to drive action.
App Activity Audiences
App Activity Audiences work in a very similar way to Website Activity Audiences, but instead of implementing a Twitter Pixel on your website, you’ll need to set up conversion tracking within your app.
This allows you to retarget users who have recently interacted with your app. These could be individuals who have installed the app or visited a specific page.
Once again, reaching existing users who are already engaged with your app is an excellent way to improve the performance of your Twitter ads.
You can utilise App Activity Audiences to encourage certain actions within your app and highlight exciting or useful features for your target users. If your business places a heavy emphasis on app usage, then App Activity Audiences can be a game-changer on Twitter.
Check out this guide for more information on setting up, launching, and managing Custom Audiences on Twitter.
Choosing the right targeting options on Twitter
Twitter provides digital marketers with a wealth of data-driven targeting options and audience insights.
So how can you ensure that you’re selecting Twitter targeting strategies that will fuel brand growth and deliver consistent results?
The first thing to consider is your main Twitter campaign objective.
The right audience targeting approach for your brand will depend on what you’re looking to achieve through Twitter advertising.
For example, if you want to drive broad brand awareness, reaching a wider Demographic or Interest audience will allow you to maximise visibility. If you’re more interested in maintaining a cost-efficient CPA, then Custom Audiences and retargeting tactics are likely to drive superior results.
This is where A/B testing can also be incredibly valuable.
Don’t hesitate to experiment with different targeting options and audiences, as this will help you to refine your approach and identify the best-performing segments for your business.
You can test new Twitter targeting approaches with a smaller ad group budget, and increase investment as you gather insights and analyse results.
The key is to stay focused on your primary goal. If you concentrate on the most relevant ad metrics, it will become much easier to determine which audiences are moving you closer to achieving your campaign objectives.
Finally, make sure that you’re balancing audience size with granular targeting.
It’s important to find a balance between reach and efficiency so that you can scale up successful strategies and optimise ad performance. If your audience is too narrow, it will be difficult to expand – if your audience is too broad, you may encounter inefficiencies.
Twitter offers several unique targeting opportunities that aren’t widely available on other social media platforms.
If you want to deliver optimal results with Twitter ad targeting, make sure that you’re focusing on a clear objective and building your strategy around this goal.
By establishing a smart objective, following best practices, and leveraging A/B testing, you’ll be able to maximise the performance you achieve on Twitter.