Here’s your complete guide to understanding how Twitter advertising works

So, it’s official. Twitter advertising is now available in South Africa. It’s official because there was an official launch with Goodie Bags, and a very official sounding speech by the CEO of Ad Dynamo.

The reality of the situation is that advertising has been available in South Africa for a while; it just hasn’t been accessible to everyone as it only catered to brands with the budget spend a minimum of R90 000 meaning only a small segment of brands were able to cut themselves a slice of the Twitter advertising pie.

The great news is that new Twitter ads now cater to smaller budgets, so community managers nationwide can start getting fingers stuck into some very cool campaigns and reach those tricky followers you just haven’t been able to attract yet.

I was itching to give Twitter advertising a go, so I did. I used a smaller budget (because let’s be honest, most clients would have a panic attack at anyone “trying something out” with a R90k price tag attached to it), and started setting up some Twitter ads.

Setting up campaigns

I wasn’t running any fancy campaigns, my goal was simply to see what happened and provide feedback to my client.

Target Audience: I selected a broad, yet relevant, audience, as I wanted to know what kind of content got the most interaction and converted into a follow – the ultimate goal. It’s also important to know that you can target users using keywords related to your brand, so you pop up when they search for your keywords on Twitter. You can also target niche groups by specifying usernames of people that are related to your industry.

Bidding: Much like with Adwords, this is how much you are willing to pay for a follow or engagement. Set your bidding within a competitive range to other brands who are targeting similar people, you can get a rough estimate of the amount of people you will be reaching from Twitter while you are setting this up.


I found out that the more people you have engaging with your campaign or your tweet the cheaper it gets, and the better your Quality score (Yup, quality score. Someone at Twitter is an Adwords fan).

You are only charged when someone interacts with your brand which means that if you are promoting an account you will only be charged once you convert a follower, if you are promoting a tweet you will be charged if someone clicks, retweets, replies, follows or favourites the tweet however, if for example a retweeted tweet results in a follow you won’t be charged for that which is pretty cool.

You want to target as many relevant people who will interact with your brand as possible, the more people you target the greater your reach, the better your engagement, and the cheaper your costs per follow/engagement.

For promoted tweets make sure your content contains nothing that will distract the user, which means you want a tweet that is hashtag, link and mention/response free. Keep your tweet short and sweet, neat and tidy and make sure it has a strong call to action.

For promoted accounts you can use hashtags and keep it conversational if you have a fun brand it’s a great way to show your brand has a personality, you should also include a picture or other rich media. I found using a great image converted more followers than when I did not use an image which is just something to note, people like pictures they haven’t depreciated and are worth a 1000 words.

I love Twitter and I have a feeling that Twitter ads are going to do great things for brands with smaller budgets. It’s an exciting time for social media in South Africa indeed.



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