5 ideas for charities thinking of using Twitter ads

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Everyone loves stats, right? Here are three for you:
Twitter ads

  • UK charities only spend 2% of their advertising budgets on online ads, compared to private companies, which spend around 46% (source).
  • Around the world, Twitter ads account only for around 9% of social media ad spend, with Facebook unsurprisingly taking the lions’ share (source).
  • 86% of charities have a Twitter account (source).

Twitter ads have only been around in the UK for a couple of years, but still, charities clearly don’t see value in spending money on them, even if they have active Twitter accounts.

In truth, charities shouldn’t need to spend as much on such ads as companies – whereas a company might need to force interactions with their audiences, the best charities at using Twitter are the best because of their organic engagement with their audience.

Still, that’s not to say there’s no value in Twitter ads. Is it a good idea for your charity? Well you won’t really know for sure until you try.

The good news is that it’s really straightforward to set up and test how well Twitter ads work for you – just click your logo in the top-right of the screen to bring up the main menu and then select ‘Twitter ads’. From there, Twitter’s instructions will guide you through the process. You can cheaply test the sorts of returns you can expect by setting a small budget of £20 or so for your campaign.

Of course, you’ll still want to make sure that your test campaign works as well as possible for your charity anyway. To help, here are 5 ideas and charity examples of the sorts of things that work well for Twitter ads.

1. Promote a free guide

Are you worried about sending a promoted tweet because it comes with a little ‘Promoted tweet’ glyph that proves that you’re paying for it to be seen? That’s probably fair enough if you’re promoting a mundane tweet about your day-to-day work.

A better idea is to promote something that adds value to supporters, such as a guide about your cause that other people can then share. A good example of this is this tweet from Compassion in World Farming:

Compassion's sponsored tweet

2. Attract even more signups for your events

Whether you have a bake-off, a sponsored walk or a charity concert coming up, it’s a really good idea to promote a link to a signup page. If you set a similar budget for your Twitter ads to your Facebook ads and emails, then by looking at the clickthrough rate afterwards, you’ll be able to easily see which option provides the best value for money.

Sport Relief

3. Attract followers who actually care

One of the best things about Twitter ads is that you can tailor the audience who receive your tweets by other accounts. So if your charity works in the health sector, you can target people who are related to, say, @NHS (example below).

Because you know that these people are already interested in your cause, there’s a higher likelihood that they’ll be more engaged and stay around for longer.


4. Use an ad to support important PR events

Are you launching a new report about your cause? Has your charity got a big announcement about the sector or its own future coming up?

If you select a wide audience to receive the tweet you’re posting, it can potentially be seen by thousands. Or, if you target a specific area, you can promote a trending topic, which can be good if you want to get your hashtag up and running.

5. A/B test your tweets

Create a few different versions of all of your tweets, and target different audiences with each. With Twitter ads, you can select different behaviour groups with each tweet you promote.

Then, when you’ve seen which version of your campaign receives the most clicks, retweets and favourites, it’ll give you a better idea of the type of messaging that works best for your audience.

Behaviour mapping on Twitter


n.b. You can do test your tweets without paying for ads. Because of the realtime nature of the news feed, you can post a link to the same page twice without annoying large swathes of people (hopefully). If you use something like Bit.ly to track clicks, create a separate link for each tweet, and then you’ll be able to measure which one people clicked on the most. 😀

The ideas in this article are based on Matt Collins’ suggestions – originally posted here.



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