How to Run a Twitter Ads Campaign on a Tailored Audience

Who do you think is more likely to click a promoted Tweet for Patriots gear — someone who kindasorta looks the part (male, Boston native); or someone who has actually engaged with the Patriots on Twitter?

In the former case, we’re taking circumstantial evidence of interest (one’s gender and location). In the latter, however, a strong indication of interest and intention has been formed. If a Twitter user has repeatedly retweeted/mentioned @Patriots, we’re probably on to something (unless, of course, it’s a Jets fan trying to troll Twitter).

For these reasons, we feel that Twitter’s Tailored Audience feature on its ads platform is a much better way to distribute your ads. You can very granularly select the Twitter users whom you want receiving your message.

Figuring out how to use any ads product always takes a little help, so we decided to build a step by step walkthrough to get you started with Twitter’s Tailored Audience feature.


1. Create a New Campaign
2. Create a New Audience
3. Build a List
4. Target Your Tailored Audience

1. Create a New Campaign


When you are logged in to, your first step will often be to start building a new campaign. So that’s the first step we’ll take in this walkthrough. From your Twitter Ads dashboard, select “Create a New Campaign” and choose the type of campaign you’d like to run from the dropdown menu (Followers, Website Clicks, Tweet Engagements, etc).

If you aren’t sure what those mean, select “Help me choose”– Twitter Ads has really solid documentation that you can refer to if you don’t understand something.

On the following page, give your campaign a name and hit Save on your draft campaign at this point so you can come back to it later.


The “Website tag for conversion tracking” is important if you want to see how many clicks from your ad eventually end up at a specific page on your site (ex. to your “Purchase Confirmed!” page). This is outside the scope of this blog post, but there are plenty of other articles that discuss this in detail.

2. Build a Tailored Audience


Now that we have a basic draft campaign set up, we want to go ahead and build our tailored audience list. In the top navbar of Twitter Ads, select the “Tools” tab and click on “Audience Manager”.


The “Audience Manager” page keeps track of any lists you’ve created in the past. You can see their status (“Ready” or “Pending”), their size (252,000 followers), as well as their management settings (“Delete”).


When creating a new audience, you have three options: upload your own list, tag/collect your website visitors, or tag/collect your mobile app users. The latter two are interesting because you can automatically build an audience from anyone who goes to a specific part of your site/app.

However, what we want to do right now is upload our own list, so that’s the option we’ll select.


Now comes the fun part (depending on what your definition of fun is). After giving your audience a memorable name, specify the type of data that you’ll be uploading. In our case, we’re only looking at Twitter usernames (aka handles), so that’s the option that we select.
Finally, we get to the “Upload your data file” section. Twitter Ads only accepts CSV files or text files that contains the list of people you want in your audience. Note: this means you can’t use an XLSX file! Save that as a CSV and you’ll be in the clear.

In the specific case of usernames/handles, this is what the CSV should look like:


Simply list all the Twitter usernames in the first column, one per each row. You can do this in Excel, Google Spreadsheets, or whichever spreadsheet software you prefer. Just make sure to save this file as a CSV. Notice that these usernames do NOT have the [email protected] before them.

Once you have your CSV set up this way, feel free to upload it to Twitter Ads, hit “Create List Audience”, and then you’re done! Piece of cake! High fives all around!

… um.

You might be wondering “Well, that’s cool, but where do I even get these Twitter usernames/handles from??” There are many ways you can go about this, but we’ll briefly show you how to do this using SocialRank.

3. Build a List

We don’t want to spend too much time in this blog post walking through SocialRank’s Market Intel product, but the image above essentially boils down what you can do.


In this example, we’ve taken tech investor Marc Andreessen’s (@pmarca) Twitter followers, filtered the list to only include people located in New York who’ve recently tweeted, and then sorted them by “Most Engaged”. This yields a list of New Yorkers who’ve engaged with @pmarca at some point in the past 7 days.

Now we can click the green “Save & Export” button, export this list to CSV, and then prepare it for uploading onto Twitter Ads. If we’re organizing a tech meetup in NYC, this list will come in handy.

4. Target Your Tailored Audience

Now that we have 1) created a new campaign, 2) built a list, and 3) created a new audience on Twitter Ads, the last step is to tell our campaign to target this new audience.

twitter-add-tailored-audience twitter-targeting-options

When we navigate back to our draft campaign and scroll down, we see a section called “Targeting.” Most of the space in this section is dedicated to more traditional forms of targeting (location, gender, language, device, etc). However, since we have a tailored audience ready to roll, we look under “Select additional targeting criteria.”


In this subsection, we can browse our tailored audiences and select the one we just uploaded earlier. Voila.

It’s important to note two things. First, your tailored audience size should be as large as possible, or else you run the risk of the audience being quickly exhausted (in the interest of user experience, Twitter Ads doesn’t repeatedly show the same ad to the same user). Second, it may take Twitter up to 24 hours to process your new list audience before you can use it in an ads campaign.

5. Experiment!

Now that you’ve built a list and uploaded it as an audience for your Promoted Tweet campaign, you should be ready to go. Next steps include setting the timeframe for your campaign, building creatives, inserting website conversion tags, and measuring the effectiveness of your campaign.

Given how young Twitter ads (and social ads in general) are, a lot of this is still in the experimental stage, so it’s very important to keep trying new things. We’ll keep you all posted with anything we’ve been testing.

Alex Taub

Co-founder of SocialRank

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