Three Ways Online Retailers Should Take Advantage of Twitter’s New Advertising Options!

Thursday, March 28th, 2013
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On March 18th, 2013 we received an email from Twitter announcing more targeting options for small business and self-service advertisers.  Because we love marketing, we couldn’t help but dive in and experiment with their new tools.  So far, we are impressed with what we see!   The new tools are primarily focused around letting advertisers build a targeted follower base. As a merchant, this could be a great way to start communicating with prospective clients and expanding your brand presence. Before we look at three techniques for building a targeted following, it is worth prefacing with three important tips:

1. We recommend starting off with a low max bid per follower (~.$25). By default Twitter might suggest a much higher number. However, because this advertising vehicle is brand new for most companies, you can get away with building followers for a much lower rate.

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2. Set your daily budget to a number you are comfortable with.  Depending upon your campaign, you might be surprised at both how quickly you can build followers (and hence spend money!). Starting with $5 or $10 per campaign per day is an inexpensive way to dip your toes in the water.

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3. Twitter is a global phenomenon, so set your location preferences accordingly! If you are most interested in targeting people in the United States, specify that explicitly. If you don’t specify a location, you’ll get new Twitter followers from the world over!  Taking into account where your target customers are is the best way to get more bang for your buck.

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Now, let’s take a look at three ways that a retailer could benefit from these new tools, keeping the aforementioned tips in mind. We recommend setting up a separate campaign for each set of criteria outlined below.

In your Twitter Advertising Portal visit Campaigns/Create Campaign/Promote Account.

1: Target by Interest

What are your ideal customers’ interests? In the Interest section, click “Browse Categories”. Twitter may not have a predefined category that fits with your specific niche, but it’s certainly worth checking.

If you sell wine or motorcycle parts for example, you will be in luck!  Simply check the relevant interests and label your campaign accordingly.


2. Target @usernames by Interest

There is a good chance that there are specific Twitter feeds that cater to your industry. Spend some time researching this or simply start typing in some industry specific keywords. Perhaps these Twitter followers aggregate news feeds, new products, or other relevant information. People that follow those feeds might also be good followers of your feed.

3. Target @username of Competitors

Consumers and followers of your competitors are always good prospects for your own brand. If you have competitors that are active on Twitter, you can have Twitter recommend that they follow your site also!

Garnering to Twitter followers is a great way to build your prospective customer based. Is the value of a new Twitter follower equal to the value of a mailing list customer? Probably not, but the way social media is trending, it might be in the not too distant future.


After receiving a degree in Industrial Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Alex began his career as a technology consultant with Accenture. In 1999 he left Accenture and founded Nexternal – a cloud-based eCommerce Platform company. Alex is passionate about eCommerce and online marketing. He is now a Senior Vice President of HighJump, managing the Nexternal business unit.