23/03/2019 Matt Horne

What you can learn from Twitter’s poor Instagram adverts

  • Tell your friends

Like most people in the Western world, I use Instagram. Unlike a lot of people (outside of media/tech industries) I also use Twitter. While scrolling through my Instagram Stories I was surprised to see the two worlds collide through a sponsored post that looked like this:

On the surface, it’s a pretty simple ad. It’s on brand, it says something and it links off somewhere to find out more. Text book social media advertising.

But, since I work quite a lot with Facebook and Instagram’s advertising platform, and know a lot about their targeting options and ways to optimise campaigns, it stood out like a sore thumb.

Before we get stuck in to why, here are a few things you need to know about me to put stuff in to context:

  • I don’t watch super hero movies
  • I have not watched any of the Avenger movies (see point 1)
  • I use the Twitter app daily, on multiple devices

Due to these simple facts, if Twitter knew how to do good social media advertising, I should never have seen this advert on my account. Here’s why, and how you can learn from their mistakes to do better.

1 – Facebook’s advertising targeting is way more detailed than Twitter’s

I’ve already covered why I think Facebook’s advertising platform is much better than Twitter’s. Because they have their tentacles on so many websites they know everything about their users and can provide insane demographic, behavioural and interest based targeting for their adverts.

Sure in the wake of Cambridge Analytica scandal, and a few others, they had to remove some of the options. But it still stands as hands down one of the best/creepiest advertising platforms for targeting options.

Considering this advert was all about Avengers all Twitter had to do was ensure their targeting took this interest in to consideration. They could have chosen a specific film genre to target:

Facebook targeting options showing different film genres

Or maybe, oh I don’t know, use the really simple search option to see what Avengers related targeting might be available:

That would probably do it.

2 – Use the Facebook pixel to identify app related audiences

You might know about the Facebook pixel and how it can track conversions and audiences on websites. But did you know it can also be used to track users in mobile phone apps?

Using the Facebook SDK and Pixel you can track user actions like:

  • Install the app
  • Launching the app
  • Searching in the app
  • View a certain type of content in the app
  • Add to cart/wishlist
  • Initiate checkout
  • Make a purchase

This can provide a wealth of targeting options and conversion tracking to help optimise adverts and who sees your ads.

For example, you might want to target users of your game that used to spend a lot of money on in app purchases but haven’t spent money in the past month to get them hooked back in.

Or you might want to remind some users that have started shopping in your app but didn’t check out that they still have things to purchase.

Or, and pay attention here Twitter, you might want to target people that haven’t installed your app or haven’t used it in a long time, rather than someone that uses the app on a daily basis. #justsayin

3 – Ensure your landing page experience is good for the user

If you’re going to link your adverts somewhere, make sure your user is going to want to stick around considering the device they’re using. Which when it comes to an Instagram Story based advert, will be a mobile device.

Here’s where Twitter’s advert linked to:

Twitter landing page with a cookie notice pop up at the bottom and not much content to see

Oh cool, a cookie notice. Fine it’s law (not GDPR FYI but PECR) so lets just close that and:

Oh so there’s another pop up now taking up a big chunk of screen real estate trying to get me to download an app I already have installed on the phone. And if I didn’t see that, there’s a reminder at the top of the screen too. Handy.

Total content relating to the advert visible – 1 tweet.



Hopefully from the three points above you can see where Twitter could have done much better with their Instagram adverts, and also learnt a thing or two about how to improve your own campaigns.

If you’re still not sure where to start with social media advertising, or would just like to chat about what options might be available, please do get in touch.

  • Tell your friends

If you need help with this or anything else relating to social media, get in touch.

    , , ,

    Matt Horne

    Freelance digital marketing and social media consultant dedicated to making your internet awesome.