3 Competitor Campaigns to Run on Twitter Ads

twitter-logo-bluePaid search competitor campaigns can be very lucrative, which only makes sense considering that you’re targeting a group of searchers that are either doing product research or looking for the site of their current vendor, who happens to sell the same thing that you do.

For various reasons, some clients prefer not to run competitive campaigns within the search engines. The main reason is generally because they know that their competitor will see the ad, or see their domain in auction insights and return the favor. I won’t try to convince you to use competitor campaigns within Bing Ads and AdWords (not today, anyway) but I will say that if you are looking for more volume from your competitor campaigns or you’re looking for a (somewhat) discreet alternative to competitive search campaigns, Twitter has some great options.

Follower Targeting

Twitter has a handy targeting setting called ‘Follower Targeting’, which allows you to target Twitter users based upon who they follow. This is a great opportunity to get your ad in front of Twitter users that follow your competitors.

Twitter Follower Targeting

Follower targeting is easy to use. You simply add your competitors’ handles and any other targeting specifications, such as demographics, and away you go! If you intend to target multiple competitors and your company offers multiple products, be sure to group competitors by their similarity to each of your products so that you can be as specific as possible with your ads. Currently, it isn’t possible to create ad groups within the Twitter UI, so you’d need to create a separate campaign for each grouping.

Contextual Targeting

Similar to paid search competitor campaigns, you can target users based upon competitor keywords. With Twitter, there are two types of contextual targeting:

  • Targeting Users’ Timelines – Target Twitter users who have tweeted, using the keywords that you are targeting.
  • Search Results – Target Twitter users who search for the keywords that you are targeting.

For competitor campaigns, it sometimes makes sense to set up two different contextual campaigns to use different keywords based upon where your ads will appear. For instance, if you choose to target users who have tweeted about your competitors, you may want to test keywords such as “alternative to ______” or other terms that give indication that the user is interested in exploring other options. Twitter has come to be a forum where people vocalize their frustrations in order to get a quicker response from customer service, which can be used to your advantage.

Setting up a contextual campaign is simple. Simply add your keywords and any other demographics that you’d like to restrict your ads to and you’re all set. Note that there are match types with Twitter, just as with paid search campaigns, although the match types are not the same. Check out the help section for more information about the various match types.

twitter match types

Competitor Look-a-likes

This strategy takes just a bit more effort and isn’t really directly competitor targeting – we’ll call it gray area. For this strategy, you’d want to create unique landing pages for each of the campaigns listed above and pixel them with a separate remarketing pixel. You’ll create unique remarketing audiences for the traffic that you generated from each campaign.

From there, you can set up a Twitter campaign – or one campaign per audience, if they are big enough – to target look-a-likes.target_audiences

To target look-a-like audiences, you simply add tailored audiences within the campaign settings and then check the box below it to include lookalikes. Since we don’t actually want to target the audience itself, we would then add the audience as an exclusion. Voila, now we are solely targeting lookalikes based upon Twitter users that showed interest in our competitors through tweets, searches, or by following them and then showed interest in us by clicking on our ad.