Auction Technology Blog

How to Target Auction Advertising on Twitter

Military_laser_experiment-Custom-300x195If you’re not already on Twitter, you should be. And if you are on Twitter and you’re not using their advertising system, then you’re really not getting as much out of your account as you should. Like Facebook, you have to pay for advertising in order to increase the visibility for your marketing messages. But it’s worth it because you can target your advertising like a laser beam. Here is how.

Use the Twitter search (top-right of the page) tool to find accounts that cater to the same audience as your target. Let’s say, for example, that you are promoting an auction of Southwestern art. Start with a simple search of just that phrase – “Southwestern art“. Browse the results for active accounts that are talking about the kind of art you’re selling and copy their @TwitterHandle. While you’re there, you might as well follow them. You can also click the “People” link in the top-left menu to display only the accounts, not the Tweets. Now, dig a little deeper. Look at the profile of each of the accounts you’ve found. Make sure that you are selecting accounts that post regularly, that share other people’s content (aka “retweeting, or RT for short”), and that have a decent following. Another useful trick is to scour public lists that these accounts are subscribed to and the lists that have them as a member. So, for example, let’s say that The Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana (@ARTSWIN) looks like a good prospect. Go to their profile and click on the “More” option:


As you browse through the lists, you’ll probably pick up a few more accounts to add to your growing list of Twitter handles to target. When you’re all done, it’s time to take the next step: Advertise.

Now, I can’t really get into the ins-and-outs of Twitter Advertising here. But, that’s okay. The folks at Twitter have done a good job explaining it themselves.

Go to and create an account if you don’t already have one. Then create a new campaign using the “New Promoted Tweets campaign” option. Give your campaign a name, select the campaign timeframe, and choose the “Interests and followers” method of targeting. Then you’re going to “Add @usernames to target people similar to that user’s followers.” That’s where you add the list of accounts you want to target. Once you’ve added some accounts, you’ll notice that the friendly folks at Twitter will suggest other accounts that you may want to target as well. In this screenshot, you can see that by targeting the followers of six users, your message can be broadcast to an audience of 25,000 people who have self-selected an interest in Southwestern art.



Of course you can use other demographics to broaden and/or further refine your targeting. At the very least, you’ll want to choose the locations you want to reach with your message.

You then have the option to select one or more of your previous tweets to promote with this campaign or compose a new tweet just for this campaign. Set a total budget, a daily maximum, and the maximum amount you are willing to spend per engagement. Twitter’s advertising platform uses an auction algorithm to determine which tweets get promoted and how much the advertiser gets charged. So a maximum bid of $1.50 per engagement may very yield engagements at a much lower price, often around half that amount. Of course, the more you pay, the more advertising you get.

That’s it. Save your campaign and it will be submitted for review. If all is well, your tweet(s) will start getting promoted within an hour or two.