Great artists steal.
Not the finished product, but the approach.
Effective ads need to accomplish the impossible Catch-22 of standing out from the crowd, while still hitting your business objectives.
The good news and bad news, is that if you look at enough successful ads, you can begin boiling down some of the essentials to notice the common threads. And you can find out how to transpose these elements into your own successful campaigns.
Here are 37 Twitter ads examples to get you started, sorted by objective.
Increasing brand awareness is one of the hallmarks of social media, helping you to expose yourself (should that be re-phrased?) to brand new interested prospects for the very first time – at a fraction of the cost of other alternatives like television, radio or sponsoring huge events.
Here’s how a few top brands are doing it, and how you can follow in their footsteps.
Undeveloped starts by highlighting what (20+ million domains), why (help clients increase traffic), and where (their site!). The three elements every ad needs to reinforce.
Switching gears entirely, Younger TV is using a short 15-second video clip to help tease a new episode. They also do a nice job of using a pretty face (people love faces!) and a recognizable one at that, piggybacking off a celebrity’s recognition to add credibility.
3. Super Image Market
Another example of using ‘content’ as a tease, Super Image Market uses the promise of 2000 images and does a great job highlighting who the offer is for (designers working on new projects). The promise of free stock images helps people become familiar with who they are, and what they offer.
4. 10th Magnitude
Clever humor is difficult to pull off in 140 characters. But 10th Magnitude pulls it off, relating the problem they solve to other extinct, or forgotten things. The image also does a nice job of looking serious at first, only to showcase their dry wit in the end.
5. Verizon Wireless
Let’s be honest: wireless carriers aren’t the most popular bunch. Verizon wisely side steps focusing attention on themselves, instead highlighting a co-branded campaign with Star Wars to capture interest.
As we’ve seen so far after only looking at a few ads, the best ways to grab attention is to focus the creative and messaging on the user (not the advertiser). Essence does that brilliantly by tying in their brand awareness efforts to a contest and special event. The hero image is just that; an image that creates desire to enter the contest by transporting viewers into what they’ll win.
After getting the attention of a new person, especially on social mediums where people are casually browsing (as opposed to intently searching), you need something to sustain that initial interest and keep people hanging around. That’s where content comes in. Done correctly, content can help you bridge the gap between strangers and customers by building trust.
Realtors are the worst when it comes to social media (everyone has that friend who won’t stop spamming friends and family with their latest listings). That, is a perfect example of how not to use social to drive leads. But real estate conglomerate CBRE takes a more tactful approach, highlighting a unique piece of content specifically targeting business operators and other upper management types (you know, the ones with money who can spend big in commercial real estate). It also subtly reinforces that they too, seemingly care about their people.
This twitter ad example from Ideapod masterfully creates interest and intrigue through a few different techniques. First, they create an open loop by posing an interesting topic without providing the answer or solution. Second, they’re using an aspirational ideal (i.e. if you want to be intelligent, you should be doing this too). Third, they use an image that further complicates this murky mystery by being unclear about what, exactly, intelligent people do. Read in bed? Rest coffee without spilling it? Wear anklets? Just tell me already!!!
If you do anything related to marketing or sales, chances are you’ve seen HubSpot content offers somewhere. Here, they’re not just promoting a single piece of content, but an entire certification program complete with multiple courses, videos and lessons. That’s an incredibly free offer, sure to pique the interest of people with even the most remote interest in inbound marketing. But it makes it tough for any competitors to emulate.
9. Brad Johnson
I have never heard of Brad Johnson. But he must be smart and handsome with a name like Brad. I HAVE heard of Michael Hyatt though, which Brad cleverly piggybacks on to add credibility to his work and immediately appeal to a similar audience. See, told you he must be smart!
The music industry as a whole isn’t always accused of being smart. But here, Billboard flexes their mental muscles by jumping on the piggybacking-bandwagon, looping in some of today’s biggest pop stars and an entertaining Grammy nominations recap video.
At the risk of sounding repetitive, Coca-Cola’s promoted holiday tweet again leverages (a) an interesting, ‘unbranded’ topic that people love while (b) also curating a special playlist with Spotify. Hopefully that winning formula for Twitter ads is sinking in by now…
… But just in case it hasn’t, here’s Mashable teaming with Slack and talking about ‘growth’. Cmon, please don’t make me repeat this. Not because it isn’t important, but because I’m running out of ways to say the same thing appear interesting.
Verizon shows off their content creation muscles (get it?) with a holiday resolution calendar which keeps the focus on the end user or ad viewer (and not their hidden fees). Timing plays a key part in creative design, this case capitalizing on a broader trend that’s already in people’s minds.
14. Louis Vuitton
Even the world’s haute couture is getting in on the content game, showcasing a brilliant ‘craftsmanship’ theme which reinforces their brand attributes. Positioning ultimately comes down to what’s in the minds of consumers, and here Louis Vuitton is planting seeds and shaping the narrative they want you to associate with them.
Many companies can’t sell with social media. But if you’re clever, there are ways to ‘indirectly’ sell what you do by generating leads by getting people to ‘raise their hands’ with intention. Check these great twitter ads examples to get you started.
15. About Auto Insurance
Right out of the gate, About Auto Insurance employs negative messaging by pointing out that you’re probably overpaying for insurance (and getting screwed by those big, evil insurance companies!). Their use of specific numbers and examples not only helps drive the point home, but also lends more credibility to their claims (ultimately making it more influential and persuasive).
One of my favorite ad creatives in the bunch, Periscope successfully delivers a funny ad that showcases personality, uses pattern interruption to generate interest, and drive home one of their product’s primary Unique Selling Propositions (USPs). (One tip – the value proposition would read stronger if instead of ‘the right way’, they incorporated the ‘150x’ stat on the image.)
17. Twitter Ads
Here is a Tweet, promoting Promoted Tweets, on Twitter. The very definition of meta. However the creative, though basic, delivers with bright and contrasting colors with a dead-simple call-to-action. When the message is simple and obvious, there’s no need to over complicate it.
18. Google Cloud Platform
Google does a great job focusing on the aspiration of developers in addition to providing an incentive that’s tough to pass up. Also, I don’t want to bad-mouth Google because they probably have my search history on file. So let’s just say this ad is AWESOME!
Everyone knows what Fiverr is, more or less. So instead of stating the obvious, they showcase the end result or benefit you can get from their service. Sometimes generic use cases are tough to visualize. But highlighting the before and after goes way beyond clever copy can.
20. Surface Hotels
Free account credit is one of the easiest ways to attract new users, and it’s especially effective when you tie an incentive directly to the desired action (so that free credit doesn’t cost you anything if it goes unused). The trick, is having something people want. Surface Hotels focuses on designers, curating the top hotels that will visually appeal to those focusing on aesthetics. And that unbelievable image of a Miami hotel does just that, zeroing-in on people with a specific design sensibility.
Bigstock follows a familiar trend, offering 35 stock images (specifically for designers) as an incentive to ‘test-drive’ their service. But what they do especially well happens at the bottom. First up, they provide an offer deadline to increase scarcity – straight from the Cialdini playbook. Then the CTA language is action oriented, not only telling readers what to do next but also giving them a preview of what comes next (limiting and hesitation about progressing into the unknown).
MailChimp is not afraid to be bold, right down to their playful branding and copywriting. It’s no surprise then when they execute a classic competitive ad campaign, going after Constant Contact user’s with an increased free trial offer. The massive 3-month extension of free service acts as a risk riversal, meant to not only entice users to switch but also allow them enough time to fall in love with the product before being charged a single dime.
23. IBM Watson Analytics
IBM Watson has had buzz for some time now, building awareness and anticipation through various ad campaigns on different channels (both online and off). Now it’s time to capitalize on the awareness built by using Twitter as a direct response medium, generating new registrations for a free edition of the interesting, powerful platform. Chances are, if you’re already seeing this ad, you know exactly what it is. And you want it. This timely ad makes it easy to take advantage.
Another extended free trial is used by Shomi for their holiday promotion. The illustration is nice visually, tying in what someone will get (‘2’ for the two free months) with the holiday light string. One interesting thing to note is the subdomain used waaaayyyy at the bottom of the ad. A clever copywriting tip: people don’t like to ‘learn’, but they do enjoy ‘exploring’ or ‘discovering’.
Yes, yet another extended free trial. How’s that for beating a dead horse? But the difference to highlight here is the unrefusable offer (or ‘tripwire‘) being used – charging people $0.99 for the offer. That tiny, minuscule amount ensures the leads you do sign up are going to be decent ones, with a high majority of those people sticking around and not canceling when the free trial is up.
Treehouse helps people learn how to code. But what they sell, is the promise of a better tomorrow (with that knowledge). The lure of a nice, high paying job developing is enticing to young people exploring careers, or older ones looking to reinvent themselves. And Treehouse can help make it happen in a fun, interactive way.
You have to search this ad for a few seconds before finding who the company is behind it. Instead, they focus the entire creative and messaging around the customer’s pain points. They’re also providing a demo of their service, personalized for you. That now transforms something boring and tedious (a long, drawn out demo) into a quick and useful offer that’s immediately enticing.
You’d never be able to sell high ticket items with a Twitter ad. But using a targeted content offer can help bridge the gap. Even better when it’s a live event. It gets the right people in the door, while also giving you enough time to make your case and build trust before they’re distracted or move on to another option.
This Formstack ad sums up many of the things we’ve gone over. The copy focuses on what people get (i.e. the outcome or end result) instead of their product. It leverages the credibility of known experts, ‘piggybacking’ off their brands. And it provides a simple, convenient way to take the ‘next step’ with minimal hassle.
Increasing awareness, promoting content, and generating leads is easy and straight forward. But how can you sell, and drive the needle? Here are few proven approaches.
Straight out of the gate, the AARP promises all types of benefits for a low introductory price. However what would make this better, is if you could quantify exactly how much those benefits were valued, showing a verifiable number people can now rationalize as an investment for their low commitment (that now looks even smaller).
Everyone knows Amazon. And almost everyone knows their Deal of the Days. Flash sales like this are a great way to keep people interested and engaged with a brand. Especially when it’s a low priced item that even discounted, is still a little profitable. Here they’re promoting accessories for their popular Kindle and Fire products, so this promotion is essentially just rewarding loyal customers who’ve already purchased the primary product.
Sticking with the discounting trend, Banggood offers a timely winter coat that looks warm (and un-discounted, probably expensive). The only thing they might want to change is to tone! down! the! exclamation! points! The problem with that (and all caps), is that the message loses significance over time when readers become immune to the over hype.
33. Original Grain
Bucking the discounting trend, Original Grain offers unique watches with wood grains. Really interesting. Luxury is emphasized a few times (subtly positioning the pricing point in your mind), and is driven home by emphasizing that no two watches will look the same. Their CTA is also very explicit, telling people exactly what to do to find out more.
Walk around any office building, and it’s immediately apparent that most men don’t understand fashion. Layering combinations into a cohesive outfit is like a death sentence. BuyMeBrand removes this pain by giving you the answer, along with how to simply just purchase what they’re recommending.
TOPMAN builds on this, complete with an excellent video showing the ‘solution’ in use. Don’t think. Just buy.
Sears is still going strong (I was surprised too), with this holiday ad highlighting gifts for your loved ones. The Holiday Style Guide uses content to (a) generate interest and (b) show people what they should be wearing (and how to get it).
37. Finish Line
Yes, ‘Finish line’ is the last one in our list. Yes, that was intentional. And yes, super corny. Instead of a straight discount, they’re enhancing it a little bit by selling multiple items and throwing in free shipping. Simple and effective. Especially when you can time the product offered with the external event driving interest (does Oregon even have a football team?).
One of the most challenging aspects of running a new ad campaign is working in a fresh approach that will deliver results.
Creative ideas need to be unique enough to stand out, but classic enough to still accomplish its primary goal. And more often than not, that means following a few ‘formulas’ along the way.
Fortunately, you can scan through these Twitter ads examples the next time you’re planning a campaign to draw inspiration, riff on new ideas, and if you have to, copy the same approaches used by some of the best in the business.
Looking for more inspiration? Here: