Get started with 25+ marketing guides and templates with Free Membership

Explore our Social Media Marketing Toolkit

Two major new Twitter features – one paid, one free

Author's avatar By Dave Chaffey 14 Nov, 2013
Essential Essential topic

Twitter opens its advertising to small and medium businesses in UK, Ireland and Canada and adds custom timelines worldwide

Importance: [rating=5]

Recommended link: Twitter blog

With the virtual ink barely dry on the Twitter IPO, Twitter has sought to increase its revenue per user from advertising by offering its Promoted Accounts, Tweets and Trends products to smaller businesses in a limited number of countries outside the US - we will update readers when more countries are added. If you had previously tried to sign up via this form you would have seen a minimum monthly spend of $10,000, but this has now been removed, opening up more competition within the ad auction.


Ten things you need to know about Twitter's new advertising options

So this is big news for many small businesses, particularly those such as B2B companies whose audiences tend to be more active on Twitter than Facebook. So, you may be wondering what the model are. Here are the 10 key features to keep it simple

  1. You set a daily budget and spend is capped at that amount.
  2. It’s a Cost per click (CPC) model.
  3. The price you pay is based on your bid.
  4. There is no longer a minimum monthly spend.
  5. You have 3 ad options: Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts and Promoted Trends products which are shown below.Twitter ad examples
  6. Promoted Tweets are the original ad product with Twitter targeting options now extended to include targeting by keywords in their timeline, interests and geography, geography (country and metropolitan), device and similarity to existing followers. Twitter have clearly learned from Facebook's targeting options... You can see in the example below they are boosted to the top of the timeline.
  7. Promoted Accounts are recommended accounts to follow, unfortunately it’s not possible to give a reason to follow other than the social proof of others who already follow the account.
  8. Promoted Trends boost you to the top of the trends list. Likewise Promoted Trends tend to be around a hashtag unique to an event or a campaign. So they could be called Promoted Hashtags - this better suggests what these are. The #SouthPole2013 trend is a Virgin Money / charity promotion. As you click-through on a trend Twitter users will see more tweets and images that they may want to share.Example Promoted Trend
  9. Twitter suggests allocating more of your budget to Promoted accounts to build your follower base while Promoted Tweets are best suited to a special offer, new product or event.
  10. Remember that many business Twitter users like me use Twitter clients like Hootsuite so will never see these ads (for now at least)!! Of course this is less the case for consumer users who will likely use Twitter’s own client or mobile app.

Also new on Twitter! Custom Timelines

These are best explained if you know Storify, which enables users to curate tweets (or other social updates) about an event - here’s an example of Storify - great for event organisers to summarise their event, or arrange a Q&A.

Here’s an example of a custom timeline embedded into the Guardian site and below how it looks on Twitter - not as nice as Storify, but better with images and easier to setup by using a hashtag - here are the instructions on how to create a custom timeline. You have flexibility on which tweets to add as with Storify.


It looks like events and will be the main use case for these. How do you see it? Have you got other ideas for marketing applications?

If you're looking for more advice on using Twitter as a free marketing tool, read our newly updated 7 Steps guide to Twitter marketing or our Influencer outreach using Twitter guide.

Author's avatar

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of online marketing training platform and publisher Smart Insights. Dave is editor of the 100+ templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ digital marketing experts. Our resources are used by our Premium members in more than 100 countries to Plan, Manage and Optimize their digital marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is a keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. My personal site,, lists my latest Digital marketing and E-commerce books and support materials including a digital marketing glossary. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.

Recommended Blog Posts