A user scrolling Twitter on their phone.

Twitter Ads: Three Easy Tests to See If Your Startup’s Audience Is On Twitter

A user scrolling Twitter on their phone.

Should Twitter Ads be a part of your Startup’s marketing stack?

The answer: it depends. In this article we’ll get into three easy tests (two of which are free), your company can run to see if your audience is on Twitter.

Before we get started, at a very high level, we know Twitter has tens of millions of active users. There are 48.5 active monthly users in the US. As of the end of Q1 2020 there are 166 “monetizable” Twitter users worldwide — users who can be served ads, and this number is growing.

Twitter ad stats.

More importantly, however, is your audience on Twitter? The following tests will help you answer this question.

Test Prerequisites: Twitter Ad Account with Credit Card on File

In order to run these three Twitter Ads audience tests, you’ll need a Twitter Ads account with an active credit card on file. Only test 3 will actually cost you money, but Twitter requires a credit card on file to access some of the ad account functionality to run these tests.

Here’s how to create a Twitter Ad Account.

Test 1: Upload A Lead List To Twitter

Easy, right?! In this no spend test, you’ll see if and what percentage of your leads or customers have Twitter accounts.


  1. Upload a customer or lead list to your Twitter Ads Account.
  2. In your ads.Twitter.com account go to:
    Tools > Audience Manager > select ‘Create New Audience’ > select ‘Upload Your Own List’ > File types CSV TSV, or TXT
  3. Wait 2-3 Days for Twitter to Process the list. Sometimes shorter, sometimes longer. Once processing is complete, how many users are in the audience?
    1. Audience too small – Your audience was matched with fewer than 100 Twitter users. This is not a viable audience for ad delivery, and obviously your list doesn’t have a lot of Twitter users. Maybe Twitter isn’t a good fit.
    2. Audience Size Reported – Let’s say you uploaded a list of 10,000 to Twitter, and the audience size is 2,000. This means 20% of your list is on Twitter.

The question to ask then is, do I want to serve ads on a channel where 1 out of 5 of your users spend time?

Test 2: Build A Retargeting List

Similar to test one, this test is both free and a great way to see if your audience is on Twitter. Retargeting in general is serving an ad to a person who has been to your website or app, a retargeting audience are the users that make up those visitors.


  1. Add the Twitter universal website tag to your site. (How to)
  2. Then, create a web traffic based retargeting audience.How to create a Twitter ad account.
  3. Wait several days to several weeks for Twitter to associate traffic to the specified page with Twitter users.

Assessing the results:

Did you get the: AUDIENCE SIZE TOO SMALL message? If your results look like this then your site doesn’t get more than 100 users who are associated with Twitter accounts.

Twitter audience size results.

If your site has very low traffic, it doesn’t mean your users aren’t on Twitter, it just means you don’t get enough users to form a retargeting list — a list that could make an ideal audience for Twitter ads.

If your site receives thousands or tens-of-thousands of visitors a month, then this warning is a red flag that your audience does not use Twitter.

Assessing audience count:

If however, you do get an audience count back, it tells you that people who visit your site also use Twitter, and you have a retargeting audience ready to go.

Like with the list approach in Test 1, do a simple math equation to calculate the ratio of Website Visitors to Twitter Audience size. If that ratio is high, then your audience is on Twitter.

Test 3: Twitter Ads Traffic Quality Test

This third test is the only one requiring payola. Let’s send some Twitter Ad traffic to your site!


  1. Build an awesome mobile-first landing page — bonus points if this page is only used for your Twitter campaign. (See the Advanced step below).Your landing page needs to offer up a great mobile experience, because 80% of Twitter users are on mobile devices. They’re in a scrolling mode on Twitter and if you convince them to click your ad, you’ll be wasting that click (and ad spend) if the user bounces because the page doesn’t load immediately.
  2. Launch an ad campaign. For this test, we recommend optimizing the campaign for lowest cost clicks, in order to get the maximum amount of traffic to your site, traffic that will provide valuable Twitter performance data in the next step.
  3. Assess your Twitter Ads Traffic.
    1. Using Google Analytics (your ad had UTM parameters, right?!) assess the Twitter Ads traffic quality. Metrics we like to look at are:
      1. Time on site
      2. Bounce rate
      3. Pageviews
    2. Total Twitter reported ads clicks vs. Google Analytics sessions are attributed to Twitter — this important ratio lets you know if people are clicking your Twitter Ad but not making it to your site. Let’s say there’s 1,000 ad clicks, but only 600 sessions reported in Google Analytics. This is a 40% drop off from ad click to your website. Your site’s mobile performance is certainly a factor, but big drop off numbers may indicate Twitter is not a viable channel.
  4. Advanced: Are you able to retarget Twitter Ads traffic on another channel? The spirit of this step is to see if traffic from Twitter will perform better when it’s coming from another channel. Perhaps when a user visits from Twitter, their attention span is too short to act in a desirable way, so by serving them an ad on another channel there’s an opportunity to see if it’s the users or the channel that lack quality.
  5. Because you buildt a dedicated Twitter Ads landing page in step one, you’re able to create page specific retargeting audiences for Google and Facebook Ads. Core questions to ask around this test are:
    1. What happens when you retarget the Twitter landing page traffic on another channel?
    2. Does the traffic quality improve or decline?
    3. How big are the retargeting audiences, especially as a ratio to traffic received from Twitter?

By running these three tests you have a low-cost way to see if Twitter Ads should be a part of your marketing mix.

Have a question about these tests, or need help setting them up? Please give us a shout.