Six unusual steps for a successful Twitter lead generation campaign

Do you want more qualified leads?

Twitter can generate qualified leads at a lower cost than most of the other major ad platforms. It’s true! But not if you follow Twitter’s instructions.

Why? Because Twitter’s advice for creating lead generation cards is completely wrong.

In this post, you’ll discover my unusual six-step strategy for using Twitter lead generation cards for ludicrously successful lead gen.

Please note: this article was first published on the Wordstream blog last week, and it was so darn helpful that we wanted to share it here. 

Step 1: Set up Conversion Tracking. Just do it!

This is kind of buried in the user interface, but it’s actually the most important thing you need to do. Without conversion tracking set up you’re blind.

All the major platforms, except for Twitter, have a “universal tag” – where you put in one tag on your site so you can figure out the conversions just by typing in the URL.

But on Twitter you have to create different JavaScript tags for each thank you page. Each one gets a name and you can categorize the type (download, purchase, sign-up) so that you can report on it later.

twitter-ads-conversion-tracking

I’m blown away how many people forget this critical step. Basically you need to define a different conversion pixel for every goal completion on your site so that you can track whether everything is working.

Step 2: Choose your Twitter Ads campaign type wisely

There are six pay-per-performance campaign types, depending on your marketing objective. You specify the most you’re willing to pay for each type of campaign.

create-twitter-ads-campaign

Why not just specify $0.01 as your cost per action? Well, basically if you set the bids too low, you’ll get no impressions. It’s an auction. Chances are other Twitter advertisers are willing to pay more than a penny.

The more you’re willing to pay, the more likely your ads will be shown. You have to figure out what it’s worth to you; Twitter will figure out how much quantity you’ll get for that amount.

As for the campaign types, even though tweet engagements are the most popular type of ad campaign, they offer the absolute worst ROI. Avoid like the plague!

Why? Twitter charges per “engagement.” This includes engagements such as a person viewing your profile page, expanding your image, expanding the tweet from the tweet stream, or clicking on a hashtag. Twitter will love taking your money, but these campaigns won’t help you achieve any of your marketing objectives as you waste your budget.

What you should really be interested in paying for is website clicks, app installs, followers, leads, or actual video views.

Step 3: adjust your Twitter Ad targeting options

At the basic level, you can simply target Twitter users by location, gender, and language.

twitter-ads-basic-ad-targeting

Twitter also provides somewhat more advanced options:

twitter-ads-advanced-ad-targeting

These advanced targeting options include:

  • Keywords: You will target specific searches or users who use with certain keywords in tweets.
  • Followers: You will target accounts of people with interests similar to followers of those accounts. For example, entering @SMExaminer will target people who are likely to be interested in social media.
  • Interests: You will target users interested in any categories you enter.
  • Tailored audiences: This is the crown jewel of Twitter advertising. Remarketing and custom lists are so powerful. Spend here first! Tailored audiences offer the best ROI because you have certainty over who you’re targeting. People who are more familiar with your brand are more likely to buy – it’s your lowest-hanging fruit.
  • TV targeting: You will target people who are interested in a specific program, TV network, or TV genre.
  • Behaviors: You will target users who share specified online and offline behaviors and characteristics.
  • Tweet engager: This is a brand new option – it’s kind of like remarketing for Twitter. It’s targeting people who interacted with your tweets in the last few days. If you have a business where you need to get lots of people really excited about something (like a political party trying to energize the base ahead of an election), then this can be a powerful type of targeting.
  • Event targeting: You will target people who are interested in global or regional events.

Step 4: Create your ad – But DON’T use Twitter lead generation cards!

Now it’s time to create your lead gen ad. Twitter tells you to use a lead generation card. WRONG!

Never, ever use Twitter’s Lead Generation Cards for lead generation. I have run thousands of campaigns and the lead generation cards consistently lose and lose badly.

Even though it has a nice layout with customizable call-to-action buttons like “buy now” and all sorts of fancy bells and whistles, it looks more like an ad. Twitter people are allergic to advertising; when they see a Twitter ad it makes them want to click on it less!

If something looks like an ad on Twitter, users will ignore you! That means lower engagement and 2-4x higher costs.

never-use-twitter-lead-generation-cards

Instead you should just attach a funny photo. Use images that have done well organically to save money.

Go nuts on the image you choose. Don’t be afraid to be a bit snarky or goofy. Use funny images or memes, even if it means going a bit off-brand. Twitter is a place where you’ll be rewarded if your brand shows it can have a bit of fun (within good taste, of course), or you’ll be ignored if you go all corporate.

And of course, use emojis to further increase engagement rates by 30%.

Step 5: Set Bids – No Automatic Bidding Allowed

Okay, first: Never ever use Twitter’s Automatic Bidding. It’s for suckers.

Automatic bidding will make sure your budget is spent very quickly. Sure, it helps you win ad auctions, but you don’t really have to or want to win every auction.

Keep in mind it’s not like search advertising where you’re bidding on rare priceless keywords that get searched on 10 times per year. This is display advertising and there are plenty of ad spots available to buy.

Always use maximum bidding. For most companies doing lead generation, it’s not the end of the world if the lead comes in tomorrow vs. today.

The only time you would use automatic bidding is if you need to promote something heavily and you need those ad impressions today (e.g., you have a 24-hour sale) or if you’re targeting a very tight audience, maybe 1,000 people. In these cases, then you do have to use auto bidding – or just bid really high.

automatic-bidding-twitter-ads

Okay, so how the heck do you set bids? It’s seriously complicated – it’s pretty much rocket science.

You need to use The Force.

Basically, you’re trying to get as many impressions as you can for as little money as possible. If you bid too low your ads won’t show. But if you bid too high your budget will die.

When you bid too high, you’re essentially paying for premium next-day air service when usually (99% of the time) a regular postage stamp will suffice. You’re paying much more for the same clicks in order to be delivered faster.

Twitter has a tool that shows how your reach changes based on different maximum bid amounts.

twitter-lead-gen-estimated-reach-calculator

Ignore! Ignore! Ignore! It’s completely wrong. Even when it says I will get no impressions, I get millions of impressions. It is just trying to get you to raise bids.

I’ve reverse-engineered the Twitter ad auction. Basically Twitter determines if your ads show or not based on your effective CPM. (Your max bid times applicable predicted engagement rate). So if your bid is $1 per click and you’re doing a click campaign using an ad that is averaging a 1% click-through rate, then your predicted effective CPM is $10.

To win more ad auctions, you have two choices: either bid more or post higher engagement stuff.

I love promoting high engagement tweets (15%+ engagement rates) with very low maximum CPCs (5-10 cents). The higher the engagement, the less you’ll need to bid for your ads to be eligible to show.

Step 6: Report. Rinse. Repeat

Your last step is to figure out how things did. You can get detailed information about exactly what happened after spending money on Twitter ads: clicks, retweets, followers, conversions, etc.

twitter-lead-gen-cards-reporting

In the above campaign you can see that we were able to generate 440 downloads for just $6.50 per action. That’s extremely cost-effective compared to other marketing channels. In comparison search ads in this vertical can cost closer to $5 per click (not per download).

Delete campaigns that aren’t working. Double down on stuff that works. Repeat.

Conclusion

Twitter can be very powerful. For example, Twitter ad campaigns can deliver a great return on your investment once you master the Twitter ads quality score algorithm.

But you have to avoid the pitfalls (hello, Tweet Engagement campaigns!). When it comes to advice, Twitter can’t be trusted. Forget everything Twitter has tried to tell you about lead generation. Ignore Twitter’s ‘best practice’ advice on bidding, creative, audience targeting, campaign types … and pretty much everything else.

Instead, do Twitter lead generation my way. The RIGHT way. :)

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