The Content Marketer’s Guide to Promoted Tweets

If you’re a content marketer, there’s a darn good chance you want more eyeballs on your content. Even more likely, you want the right eyeballs.

You can do an “audience rain dance” and pray for a miraculous influx of social referral traffic, as our editor-in-chief, Joe Lazauskas, has been known to do from time to time. Or you could take advantage of one of the many paid content distribution platforms at your proposal.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be releasing detailed playbooks to our four favorite platforms for paid content distribution: Twitter, Outbrain, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

We’re going to start off with our personal favorite channel here at Contently: Twitter.

Twitter is our go-to channel when we want to drive a little extra paid traffic to a post. Visitors from Twitter tend to be highly engaged, and are very likely to share your content further, creating an organic boost on top of your social distribution. But you can do a lot more than simply drive referral traffic using Twitter advertising—each type of Twitter campaign is great for something different.

Which type of campaign should I use?

There are a handful of different campaigns that you can choose to promote your brand or publication, depending on how you want to grow your audience. Options for targeting and budgeting are also varied, but we’ll review those sections further down in the piece.

Still, no matter which campaign you choose, there are some similarities across the board:

-In terms of scheduling, you can start the campaign immediately and run it until you exhaust your budget, or choose specific start and end dates.

-All sponsored tweets will say “Promoted by [Your Business Name]”

-Twitter recommends using a few tweets for each campaign. This allows you to diversify your offerings and engage a wider audience, but most importantly, it allows for trial and error so you can optimize future campaigns.

Now, onto the types of campaigns:

Engagement tweets

What used to be called a Promoted Tweets campaign is now an Engagement Tweets campaign—and it’s by far the one we use the most. It’s also the easiest type of campaign to put together.

If you want to take a regular-looking tweet (like you’d find in your Twitter feed or send out to your followers) and put some money behind it, this is the campaign for you. You can either compose a new tweet on the campaign page or just choose one you’ve already published or have scheduled to go out through a third-party app like TweetDeck or Hootsuite.

promoted tweets

We’ll often use this campaign to give a little boost of momentum to a tweet that has already gained a good amount of traction with our audience.

Follower campaign

These campaigns are set up for the sole purpose of gaining new Twitter followers. They’re not meant for promoting individual pieces of content, driving leads, or tracking conversions. That is why these tweets are very bare bones in their composition. Twitter suggests using only text for these—no links or multimedia of any kind—just a short description of why people should follow your account.

promoted tweets

We’ve set up these campaigns on a monthly basis for The Content Strategist to promote our strongest pieces of content, and have used it sparingly to build an audience for our newest Twitter account, @TheFreelancer, which represents our sister publication at

Website clicks or conversion campaign

This is where marketers get to flex their call-to-action muscles. For this campaign, you’ll have to create a Website Card, which includes an image, a headline, a URL, and a call-to-action for your reader to click on.

For example, this is Website Card template we created to promote our healthcare e-book.

promoted tweets

Back on the campaign page, you will then attach the Website Card to a tweet, and add text for the tweet to give a short description of the content you’re promoting.


To track conversions from that call-to-action button on the Website Card, set up a website tag. For example, if you’re promoting an ebook that has an email signup page, and you want to know how many people submit their emails via your Twitter campaign, you go to Tools > Conversion Tracking > Create new website tag, and set up the proper code.


This campaign is similar to the one directly above, except you’ll be creating a Lead Generation Card instead of a Website Card. The biggest difference is that these cards are mostly useful for getting e-mail addresses through direct sign-ups, whereas the Website Cards are great for jazzing up different pieces of content.

For example, this is a template we used to promote our e-mail newsletter.

promoted tweets

How can I target my desired audience?

With the exception of the Followers campaigns, each campaign above allows you to target by the following factors: KeywordsInterests and followersTelevision, or Tailored audiences. The Followers campaigns only include two categories: Interests and followers, and Tailored audiences.

These are fully explained on the campaign set-up pages, so here are just a few tips:

-For Interests and followers, it’s smart to target followers of your competitors’ Twitter accounts. Try 7-10, and swap some in and out for future campaigns.

-For Tailored audiences, if you have a larger list of e-mail subscribers than you do Twitter followers, you can upload your subscriber list, and target those readers and others like them. Don’t want to waste money targeting people who already engage with your brand? There’s a new targeting option that lets you exclude these tailored audiences, too.

-There is also an option to limit targeting to specific devices or platforms. Website Cards are optimized for mobile, so it’s best to target users on mobile devices for these campaigns.

How should I budget my spend?

Setting your budget for a campaign includes three main parts: 1) a daily minimum budget; 2) a bid range per engagement; and 3) total spend for that campaign.

To keep a campaign running for a certain period of time without setting start and end dates, simply set a daily amount you’d like to spend, and check up on your campaign as it progresses.

For example, when we ran a Follower campaign over the summer, we allocated a set amount of funds for it. I divided the budget by 30 days in the month, and made that price my daily cap.

The budget and bid can also be adjusted while the campaign is running. For example, you might want to adjust the bid at different times in the day or week, such as when a buzzworthy event is taking over the conversation on Twitter. At this time, you may have to bid higher to get your content seen.

promoted tweets

After you begin running campaigns, Twitter will offer suggestions on how to improve them. These tips will often be to add more money to your campaign or up your bid for higher engagement. Sometimes we’ll do this to experiment with pieces that performed exceptionally well.

How can I measure the success of my campaigns?

Once your campaigns are up and running, you can track their performances in real-time on the campaigns dashboard.

As with most insights programs, you can view your campaign stats based on a certain range of dates, individual campaigns, platforms, locations, and demographics.

The “Engagements” tag will break down campaign performance by individual tweets, impressions, clicks, retweets, replies, followers, and engagement rate.

Pair this information with the offerings at Twitter Analytics to see how your sponsored tweets are performing in comparison with your regular output of Twitter content. Then, optimize. That’s when the real fun begins.

Have any questions on paid Twitter promotion? Tweet me @Contently. I’m the gal behind the account, all day, every day.

Image by lculig

Get better at your job right now.

Read our monthly newsletter to master content marketing. It’s made for marketers, creators, and everyone in between.

Trending stories