Twitter Ads: Is now the best time to advertise on Twitter?

Twitter Ads: Is now the best time to advertise on Twitter?

Jeff Lyall February 20, 2023

It seems as if Twitter hasn’t been out of the news ever since Elon Musk’s takeover bid in October 2022. Since the $44bn buyout was confirmed, there’s been never-ending controversy, platform updates, and several brands having a lot to say – good and bad – about using the platform in a business context. 

Twitter has offered a range of advertising options since 2010 but these have often been criticised as lacklustre and limited, particularly when compared to platforms like Meta. But with Musk on the rampage to secure more revenue through the platform, there’s been a raft of updates – also good and bad – and a real push to tempt advertisers’ budgets. 

So, in 2023 is it worth your brand advertising with Twitter? Here are some considerations. 

Alternatives like Mastodon haven’t gained traction 

Following a tumultuous time during the early days of Musk’s ownership, several Twitter competitors tried to seize the opportunity of becoming a realistic alternative. The most successful of these was the open-source Mastodon which grew exponentially in Q4 2022, however this quickly plateaued and has now since declined. Common complaints are around poor content discovery and general difficulty of use compared to Twitter.  

With these brands failing to capture the long-term attention of Twitter users, its likely many more will try. In the short-mid term however, chipping into Twitter’s 400m user base will be easier said than done.

Takeaway: Advertising on emerging platforms often makes sense but remember to keep sight of where your customers are today (and tomorrow). 

screenshot of mastodon social in use

Top advertisers are abandoning the platform en masse 

With controversy still ongoing around the platform, brands with deep pockets like GM, Balenciaga, and United Airlines have all left the platform, opening up ad inventory. With fewer advertisers on the platform and particularly those with large budgets, a reduction in competition should equal more favourable CPCs for your brand.  

Brand safety remains an issue for some. Elon Musk infamously fired the entire PR team early in his tenure but thankfully Twitter is rolling out additional tools to assist with this (see below). By stretching your budget a little further, the reduced competition on Twitter makes it easier to get your products and services in front of your customers’ eyeballs. 

Combine the number of monthly active Twitter users being at an all-time high and costs potentially at a low, and it might make sense to experiment or revisit using Twitter within your social mix, particularly if your competitors have decided that they aren’t. 

Takeaway: Consider whether your competitors effectively use Twitter, and revisit associated costs with advertising, or even organic posting. It might be the best time to cheaply pick up some excess inventory. 

Twitter might finally be starting to take its advertising platform seriously 

With a focus on revenue growth, it appears that Twitter might be giving its historically poor advertising tools some much-needed improvement. While ad types have historically focussed on simple promoted tweets and promoted accounts, recent updates have brought the platform more in line with competitors like Meta and Pinterest. Recent useful updates have included 

  • Conversion campaign objectives
    Using Twitter’s Conversion API to optimise for conversions and actions like add-to-basket rather than just impressions or clicks makes it more much useful in ecommerce. 
  • Search Keywords Ads
    Allowing targetting of the search results pages for a given keyword, aligning with search intent in much the same way as Google Ads. 
  • Brand Safety tools
    A much-requested feature given several issues around the time of Musk’s takeover, Twitter implemented a 3rd party brand safety measurement tool. 
  • New ad formats
    New ad formats like carousels and product ads have only recently been available, further expanding ecommerce opportunities on the platform.

It seems unlikely that Twitter’s Ad options will ever surpass the likes of Meta, but leveraging new options within ads can help both customer acquisition as well as retention, especially for creative brands. Even relatively new features like Circles, Spaces, and the mess that is currently Twitter verification and Twitter Blue can help you differentiate from competitors, if used strategically. 

Takeaway: Run some tests with Twitter’s new advertising tools, particularly if your brand hasn’t experimented on the platform for a while. 

collage showing three new twitter ad formats

User numbers are still growing 

Sustained controversy and competitors don’t seem to have really affected Twitter usage. While users in the US are on a slight decline, the rest of the world is still a growth area for the platform with the more than 19 million users in the UK alone (more than double the number of TikTok users).

As Twitter stays in the news through early 2023, it seems unlikely that this number will decrease. So if your customers are on the platform, be sure to have a strategy for reaching them effectively. 

Takeaway: With user numbers rising, consider if your customer uses Twitter and how many of them you could potentially reach. 

Organic reach on Twitter can eclipse other platforms 

While Twitter’s advertising tools might be better than ever, don’t ignore organic reach. The transient and real-time nature of a Tweet is still one its strengths, often requiring little to no creative. Twitter is still king of breaking news, in-the-moment events, rapid and highly visible customer service, and instantaneous reactive marketing. Whereas many social platforms commonly offer close to zero organic reach, a simple tweet can be highly effective.  

On top of that, Twitter has pushed into community building, with Spaces, Circles and Twitter Communities which still represent an unexploited opportunity for many brands. Twitter users are known to be passionate about their interests, so make the most of this and build a community around your customers. 

Takeaway: Consider whether Twitter should be part of your brand’s social marketing mix, and whether some of its free-to-use tools are worth investment. 

The future of Twitter as a social media platform in the long term may be uncertain, but at present it’s still worth considering if your brand can leverage its advertising options. While it’s absolutely right for some brands and not for others, we recommend checking out Twitter’s latest tools for your 2023 campaigns and seeing if they can fit into your strategy. Alternatively, speak to one of our paid social experts about how you could use Twitter in your marketing mix. 


  • Mastodon Social image by Eugen Rochko –, AGPL,

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *