The Twitter ad platform has the most laser-precise targeting out of all of the paid social options out there. You can put a promoted tweet in front of the exact 1000 people that you want to see it provided you have a tailored list. This guide will show you how to build, optimize and upload your first Twitter tailored audience into their ad manager.
- What is a Tailored Audience?
- Creating your Tailored Audience from Lists Using Followerwonk
- Cleaning and Sorting Your Tailored Audience in Excel
- Uploading Your First List to Twitter Ads Manager
- How to Set Up Your Twitter Universal Website Tag for Retargeting
What is a Tailored Audience?
A tailored audience is a specific list of Twitter usernames, email addresses, recent website visitors, or mobile app users. Your audience lists files will be saved in either of the supported file formats—.csv or .txt.
Three ways to use Tailored Audiences
You can use lists to target specific users (existing customers or relevant influencers). This is accomplished by uploading a custom list of either email addresses or Twitter usernames (@handles).
You’re able to target recent visitors to your website. You collect this data either by using Twitter’s website tag (available through Twitter Ads) or by using Twitter’s Official Partner Program.
Here’s a list of partner software platforms that you can integrate into your Twitter ad campaigns.
You can reach groups of people who have taken specific actions in your app, such as an install or sign up. You can collect data on who uses your mobile app with conversion tracking.
Creating your Tailored Audience from Lists Using Followerwonk
We’re going to focus on building tailored audiences from lists for the purpose of this guide. You might already have decent sources by pulling from your mailing lists, past customers, or potential customers who have shown intent.
You can upload lists of:
- email addresses
- mobile phone numbers
- Mobile Advertising IDs (iOS Advertising Identifiers and Google Advertising IDs or when not available Android IDs)
- Twitter @handles
- Twitter user IDs.
We’ll build and refine a tailored audience using Followerwonk.
Followerwonk is a Twitter analytics tool that allows us to:
- Search Twitter bios and profiles.
- Search using keywords, locations, names, and URLs.
- Compare multiple Twitter bios by users they follow and their followers.
- Analyze a specific Twitter handle by their followers and the users they follow.
- Track changes in follows and followers for your—or your competitor’s—Twitter account for up to 120 days.
- Sort the follows and followers of any Twitter account by tweets, following, followers, account age, and Social Authority.
I’m building a tailored audience specifically to market my How to Perform a Competitive Analysis in 2018 post via a promoted tweet.
Once I’ve logged into Followerwonk, I’m going to click the ‘Compare Users‘ tab at the top.
First I want to see how many people follow both SEMrush and Ahrefs on Twitter. I choose ‘Compare their followers’ to perform the analysis.
SEMrush has more than three times the followers (76,293 > 23,190) as Ahrefs but an impressive 15,069 people follow both accounts on Twitter.
I download the ‘Followers of both’ report as a CSV file.
You can compare users for up to three different accounts – so the possibilities are near infinite. At the ‘Target‘ paid tier for Followerwonk—$29/month—you can perform 40 analyses per day and download up to 12 reports. More than enough to get started.
I was looking to put my post in front of content marketers who also have a vested interest in SEO. So I tried more combinations.
I ended up comparing followers of Moz, Content Marketing Institute and SEMrush. We arrive at 17,397 Twitter usernames. More than enough to build a tailored audience. Export the list as a CSV. The $29 / month tier will only let you download the first 10,000 Twitter handles, so you can do a bit of sorting in Followerwonk before continuing in Excel or Google Sheets.
Cleaning and Sorting Your Audience List in Excel
We’ll continue on and use the CSV file of the overlapping 10,000 Twitter usernames who follow SEMrush, Content Marketing Institute and Moz.
Delete the unnecessary columns
I like to keep things simple and work with four columns – which means I need to do a lot of deleting.
- Delete Columns B, C, E & F [Full name], [Location], [Friends], & [Created].
- You can now safely delete columns E through L if you only have a list in the 10,000 follower range.
- You’ve now removed [Bio], [URL], [% tweets w/ URLs], [% retweets in timeline], [% tweets w @contacts], [% tweets w @contacts], & [Social Authority].
Freeze the top row
View > Freeze Panes > Freeze Top Row
If you have a Multitask tier subscription to Followerwonk then you can start sorting by some of the other more granular columns. But for our purposes, we’re using a ‘Target‘ account which maxes out at 10,000 Twitter user accounts per report.
Filter out all accounts that haven’t Tweeted in the past 4 weeks.
- In Column D [Last tweet]
- Data > Filter >Date Filters > After.
I performed this task on July 19th, 2018 – so I filtered out all tweets from before June 21st.
This left me with 6457 user handles which are more than enough to get going.
Change the case of all the usernames to lowercase
First, insert a temporary column next to the column that contains the text you want to convert. In this case, we’ve added a new column (B) to the right of the Screen name column.
In cell B2, type “=LOWER(A2)”, then press Enter.
Now, fill down the formula in the new column. The quickest way to do this is by selecting cell B2, and then double-clicking the small black square that appears in the lower-right corner of the cell.
The entire column will then populate with the lowercase results.
At this point, the values in the new column (B) should be selected. Press CTRL+C to copy them to the Clipboard.
Right-click cell A2, click Paste and then click Values. This step enables you to paste just the names and not the underlying formulas, which you don’t need to keep.
You can then delete column (B) since it is no longer needed.
Trim leading and trailing spaces for the entire column. Here’s an excellent post on How to Remove Leading and Trailing Spaces in an Entire Column in Excel & Google Docs.
- Create your file in either of the supported file formats—.csv and .txt. The maximum file size is 5 GB. Separated your list by new lines or commas.
- If you wish to pre-hash your file (which is optional), following these formatting instructions. I don’t bother with pre-hashing and let Twitter handle this step.
- For Twitter usernames, do not include the @, make sure the text is in lowercase with leading and trailing spaces trimmed. (For example: nick_offerman)
Uploading Your First List to Twitter Ads Manager
Go to Twitter Business and click on ‘Start a Campaign‘ in the upper right corner.
If on the next screen you do not see menu items in the upper right [Campaigns], [Creatives], [Analytics], and [Tools] – then you will need to add a payment method.
After entering a credit card number you should have access to the ‘Tools‘ drop-down.
Click on Tools > Audience manager
When the next window opens click on the ‘Create new audience‘ button.
Select ‘Upload your own list‘.
Enter All of Your Details on the Create New List Audience Page
- Name your audience
- Audience rules: Specify the type of data in your file. In our case, we’re building a ‘Twitter usernames’ list so check that box.
- Upload your data file. For this example, I’ve uploaded the .txt file that I created in Notepad.
- If you haven’t hashed your file then you need to leave the box next to ‘The records in this data file are already normalized and hashed using SHA256.’ UNCHECKED.
- Agree to the terms and conditions.
- Click create list audience.
Now prepare to wait a while. It’s going to take a few hours for Twitter to parse all of the usernames that you’ve just fed to the audience manager. Wait for it to upload. Don’t close or minimize the browser window while the file is uploading, and only upload one file at a time. For very large files, make sure that you have a good internet connection. Alternately, you could also break your upload into smaller files (and then target them together in campaigns).
“TBH the platform is just a nightmare to manage & lags in product… So many advertisers have abandoned it because the effort put in (+spend) didn’t produce a good enough return. (IMHO & from advertisers I’ve spoken with over the years)
I still looooove it, (so much potential) but the product needs to get better.” – Merry Morud
The ‘Twitter Audience Platform’ will remain as ‘Pending’ until it’s successfully—or unsuccessfully—uploaded.
Launching your first Twitter Ad With a Tailored Audience
Go to Twitter Business and click on ‘Start a Campaign‘ in the upper right corner.
In the upper right corner click on ‘Create campaign‘ and choose Website clicks or conversions from the drop-down. This will be your objective. By choosing this objective you’re only paying for the number of website link clicks.
You’ll be taken to the DETAILS screen.
- Give your campaign a name.
- Set a daily budget. Setting a total budget is optional.
- Set your start and end times and click Next in the upper right corner once you’re done.
Choose your creatives
Click on ‘Creatives‘ in the upper menu and then choose ‘Tweets‘ from the drop-down.
A list of your tweets will appear in order of most recent. Select the tweet that you wish to promote.
Choose where your promoted Tweets appear
Ad placement locations
- Users Timelines: Promote Tweets into the home timeline of the specific group of people that you are targeting.
- Profiles and Tweet detail pages: Promote Tweets to users when they visit profiles and tweet detail pages on Twitter.
- Search results: Promote Tweets into the search results.
Also, check the box marked Expand your reach on the Twitter Audience Platform. The Twitter Audience Platform which consists of mobile applications and websites on the Twitter Network that may not be owned or operated by Twitter.
Select which category best describes your ad – in my case it was Marketing.
And finally, enter the domain name of the website used for this ad group.
Here are two examples of tweets that I ran promoted campaigns on.
How to Set Up Your Twitter Universal Website Tag for Retargeting
If you’re going to make Twitter a regular part of your paid promotion and retargeting arsenal you should definitely embed their universal website tag on your site. This will enable you to build audiences and retargeting pools based on where visitors are active on your site. You will also be able to create conversion events and monitor campaign ROI.
Go to Tools > Conversion tracking
Click on View code and installation instructions.
Installing your website tag
Copy or download the code snippet and place it at the bottom of all pages on your website before the </body> HTML tag. In my case, I’m using a Genesis theme so I embed the code via the Genesis Simple Hooks plugin.
At first your universal website tag status will show as UNVERIFIED.
Your website tag hasn’t sent any data from your website yet. Your tag will be verified the first time a person takes a conversion action on the web page where the tag is embedded.
This is what you want to see.