Twitter Ad Campaign: Step 3

This is part of a series of posts about how to run a successful Twitter Ad campaign to promote your book. Start here.

Step 3: Run a test campaign

We are finally ready to run a campaign. Almost. A Twitter Ad is actually a Promoted Tweet. You tweet like normal, but then you tell Twitter Ads to promote that tweet, so it shows up over and over in the feeds of people who do not follow you. So before we can run our campaign, we need to write some tweets.

Write five tweets

Go to your character or book account that you made back in Step 1. Compose some tweets that you think might lead someone to click. Do not include a picture. Having a picture in there will reduce the number of people who click your link (despite what you may have read). No hashtags either. Some text and that link you made back in Step 2.

The formula that worked best for me is five stars (type star emoji if  you know how to do that, or just copy & paste them from this tweet). Followed by a sentence from a 5-star review. I found that sentences that make your book sound interesting/different work better than ones that say it is good. The five stars kind of already said it’s good. So you can use a sentence that captures attention.

Also, avoid anything sexy or suggestive. Twitter will prevent you from promoting any tweet which is remotely spicy.

Write five different tweets. We will use them all in this campaign, and see which one performs best. Then we will use that winner going forward.

Figure out your targeting

Now make a list of accounts to target. Your tweets will be shown to the people who follow these accounts. Find authors who write books similar to yours. Find the publishers who sell those authors’ books. Dig deep. Try to come up with 30-40 accounts (I’m using 40 in my campaigns). Obviously, bigger is better. And they don’t need to be authors you like. One of my biggest producers is followers of E. L. James (the 50 Shades lady).

If you can’t come up with that many, Twitter is going to suggest “similar” accounts when you start to enter these, so that might help.

It’s really important that you not target people who are unlikely to want to read your book. A big part of achieving conversion is talking to the right audience. But it’s also really important that you target a big group. Because if you don’t target very many people, you will not be able to get your ad seen at the price you can afford. Coming up with this list of accounts is the single most important thing you will do.

Spend $10

Okay, we are finally ready to create a campaign! Make sure your browser is logged in to your character or book account. It probably is already, since you just wrote those five tweets. Go to and give them your credit card number.

Create a campaign: “Website clicks or conversions”

Name it “Test” and set it to “Run continuously”

Update: DO NOT check the box for Twitter Audience Platform. See this post to understand why.

Set the locations to: United States, Canada, UK. These are the only places I’ve found Twitter Ads actually work. You can get impressions and clicks other places, but those people never actually buy the book. If you think your book appeals to other places, go ahead and include them.

Gender: Any gender (Twitter has no idea what gender people are)

If you are sticking with US, CA, UK, then there is no need to set language. But if you are trying India or Brazil because you think they might work for you, go ahead and choose “English.”

Add followers, and put in the accounts you listed. After you enter each one, Twitter will suggest some. Write those down. They might be good additions to your list.

Do not do any demographic targeting. None. Here’s the problem: Twitter has no idea what demographics anyone is in. It doesn’t know gender or interests or any of that. If you touch any of the demographic controls, you will ruin all that careful targeting of accounts you just did. Don’t do it!

I only put tweets in people’s timelines, because I find those other places annoying. But follow your gut on which of those to check.

Set a daily maximum and a total budget of $10.

Set your bid to $0.09. Yes, Twitter is going to yell at you and say it should be 16 times that big. Twitter lies. $0.09 will get you plenty of impressions.

Select the 5 tweets that you made earlier.

Launch your campaign.

Sell nothing

You won’t get any impressions or clicks for a little while. Don’t worry about that. Eventually you’ll start to get both. You might not sell anything during this test. But that’s okay. Our objective here is only to find the best tweet to use going forward.

You will be lured by the analytics interface to look at demographics and which accounts worked best and other random things. Don’t fall for it. Twitter has no idea about any of that. Those numbers are all junk. All you care about right now is which tweet to use, and all you’ll care about at the end is how many books you sold.

At $0.09 per click, your $10 campaign will generate 111 clicks. If you want, you can lower your bid and you will get more clicks, but it will take longer. If you don’t get any clicks after a day, you probably aren’t targeting enough users. If you get a lot of clicks in the first few hours, you should lower your bid to slow things down. You can adjust the accounts you target and your bid and anything else you want while this test is running.

Pick your winner

By the end of the test, you’ll see that each of your tweets has a “Click Rate” associated with it. One of them will have the best click rate, and that’s the winner. Having a tweet that draws clicks well is a good way to ensure you get the maximum exposure, fastest, for the lowest cost. It’s complicated math to explain why, but trust me that a tweet with a better click rate is better for you economically.

For reference, the click rate of my star tweet is about 0.6%. That means one in 167 people who sees it, clicks it. Since I’ve never clicked a Twitter Ad in my life, I think that’s actually pretty impressive.

Congratulate your winning tweet, and join me at Step 4.


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