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Content Distribution: Twitter Ads & Event Targeting

Doug Miller
#Digital Marketing, #Inbound Marketing, #Social Media
Published on December 21, 2016

We look at how to provide more value for your communities by targeting events with your promoted ads on Twitter.

We’ve talked a lot about making sure that your content adds value to the communities it is designed to serve, but getting in front of those communities in digital spaces can be a challenge. It’s important to fully leverage every tool in your paid, earned, and owned marketing mix. One fantastic way to make sure that your content gets in front of the eyeballs of the correct communities is to target those communities using paid promoted platform posts, and Twitter’s ability to target is phenomenal, particularly based on conversations around events and conferences. That’s a key part of getting in front of any digital communities.


Hashtags have long been the way to both research and actively engage various communities over Twitter. It’s worth noting that hashtags as a convention of organizing content and having ad hoc community in digital spaces are used in many more places than Twitter these days. Instagram, for example, makes better use of hashtags than their parent company, Facebook. The convention was developed by early Twitter users, not Twitter itself and, in the end, we may see that hashtags outlive the place they were born.

Event Targeting

Creating an Event Targeting Campaign

In any case, when it comes to events like conferences, seminars, programs, or even TV shows, hashtags and Twitter remain an amazingly powerful combo and have previously been one of the only options for targeting. Paying to promote your content to communities based on hashtag usage is still a great option, but Twitter also has another powerful tool for targeting hand picked events.

Add Event Targeting

When you are setting up your promoted post, you’ll encounter the setting “Add Event Targeting” from any of the various types of campaigns you can build for a Twitter promoted post. If you know exactly what you are looking for and that it is part of the “targeted events” program, this interface is easy enough to use.

Audience Features

Let’s say you are looking to promote to a particular conference, like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), or the National Retail Foundation’s (NRF) “Big Show”, or South by Southwest (SXSW). You can search for your show or the related tags here and add them to your targeted population.

Caveat: there can only be one targeted event per campaign.

On the other hand, you can target specific hashtags from a variety of events as much as you would like. What’s the difference, you might ask? Research and focus.

If you log in to the ads interface, you can access this events calendar and get advanced information about relative audience sizes, anticipated traffic demographic breakdowns, and more. That can give your campaign a head start in finding the right fit, even if your conference or event isn’t part of the targeted events calendar Twitter puts together.

Select an Event

If you type your desired event into the search bar and find nothing, you can still “browse” the list of events to see if what you seek is there. If it isn’t, fear not, there may be another event that is just as useful, depending on your goals.

Twitter's Events Calendar

This brings up an interesting point that is a bit like putting the cart before the horse.

Before you go planning your marketing campaign to include Twitter promoted post activities, it is worthwhile to do so with an understanding of what may already be on the books for “targeted events” via their handy web interface and “Events Calendar.”

Browse Events

In the past, organizations interested in promoting their content had to rely on some guesswork around relevant hashtags and more. The Targeted Events calendar even lets you search and sort by a specific date range to see what is likely to best provide traffic around your community for that time period.

Targeted Events Calendar

This interface is only available when you are logged into the Twitter Ads interface, so you’ll want to make sure to set up your Twitter Ads account, tie it to your payment source, and click the link to build a “new campaign,” even if you don’t intend to launch one in the immediate future. This will allow you to browse the full web interface and Events Calendarmore successfully and even “Launch a Campaign” based on what you see available here.

Targeting Trends

As you can see, this calendar is not limited to just conferences or movie releases. There are also some regularly occurring trends that make for great ways to target your communities.

Browsing Events

Are you part of a social good organization? Maybe you want to make sure your promoted posts are targeted to #ThankfulThursday using event targeting and not just keyword targeting.

Age and Location Targeting

Working on a “Happy New Year” post that you want to make sure gets out beyond your followers? Use the Events Calendar to target “New Years,” as you can see below.

Targeting New Years

Do you absolutely know that your target audience is going to be following every single CES tweet? Target that event in your campaign. Be aware that your audience might also be using different devices too.

Device Targeting

The real value of targeting comes after the promoted campaign, when you can look back at your data and see what the results were around that parameter alone.

Are you planning on taking advantage of Twitter’s paid promoted post platform to boost your earned media? Contact us, and we'll help you work through a strategy to make the most of your efforts, or partner with you to get it done.