How To Use Twitter Ads To Grow Your Newsletter

The highest quality paid growth channel

Welcome to The Newsletter Operator!

In today’s email:

  • How to use Twitter ads to grow your newsletter

  • Tips on finding and curating newsletter content

  • How Superhuman grew to 250k subscribers

  • And more

Deep Dive

How To Use Twitter Ads To Grow Your Newsletter

Twitter ads are becoming an awesome channel for paid newsletter growth.

Here’s why:

1) Impressions are cheap. I see $10-$15 CPMs (cost per 1,000 impressions) with Meta ads and $2-$3 CPMs with Twitter ads

Why is this? Around 50% of the top 100 Twitter advertisers pulled out. This makes the auction less competitive and CPMs lower.

2) Twitter ads are now optimized for engagement and conversions rather than cheap impressions.

The Twitter team is shifting the platform to better serve direct-response advertisers.

3) Twitter ad CPAs (cost per subscriber) are similar to Meta, but subscriber quality and open rates are higher.

I’ve found users from a text-based platform (Twitter) are more likely to read newsletters than users on an image/video-based platform (Facebook and Instagram).

What Results To Expect

Here are my Twitter ad results for Newsletter Operator last month (May 2023):

  • 811 Subscribers

  • $1.97 CPA

  • 64% Open Rate

  • 14% CTR

Not bad for a niche B2B newsletter!

Results for my clients have also been great. I can’t share their numbers, but my agency is managing Twitter ads for 10 newsletters.

CPAs range from $2.08 to $2.99

Our clients’ CPAs are not always lower on Twitter vs Meta, but we see consistently higher open rates from Twitter ads.

We’ve also found Twitter ads can be a better growth channel for niche and B2B newsletters.

Twitter’s targeting options allow you to target small niche audiences, while FB works better with broad audiences.

How To Set Up Twitter Ads

There are 6 steps to setting up your Twitter ads:

  1. Twitter pixel

  2. Conversion event

  3. Campaign setup

  4. Ad group set up

  5. Ad creative setup

Here’s how it works:

1) Twitter Pixel Set Up

There are a few ways to add the Twitter pixel to your website. These depend on the website software or landing page software you use.

For Beehiiv websites, you’ll just need to add the pixel ID to your Website Analytics in the “Settings” section.

For other website tools, you may need to add the Twitter pixel code to your website via code or with Google Tag Manager.

Here are instructions on how to do that.

2) How To Set Up a Conversion Event

After you add the pixel to your website, you need to create a conversion event.

Go to Tools > Events Manager. Then click “Add Events”.

Name your event “Subscribe” and select the event type “Subscribe”. Click next.

Select “Define event with URL rules”. Then setup the URL rule so that “Exact URL” = Your thank you page URL

Then “save” this event.

This tells Twitter that when a person reaches your thank you page URL they are a subscriber.

3) Campaign Set Up

Go to Campaigns > Ad Manager. Then click “Create Campaign”.

Choose an “Advanced” campaign and pick “Conversions” as the campaign's objective.

Title your campaign, choose a funding source, then click “Next”.

4) Ad Group Set Up

Here’s how to set up the ad group. This is where you select your budget, targeting, ad placements, and more.

  • Name

Name your ad group with a number and a short description of the audience you’re targeting.

Example: 1_marketinginfluencers_followerlookalikes

Below we’ll cover how to set up your targeting, so you should skip the naming until you do that.

  • Budget & Schedule

Set a daily budget of $20-$50 per day.

I recommend $20-$25 for beginners and $50 for advanced advertisers who have the budget and want to see results faster.

  • Delivery

Select the “Subscribe” conversion event you created. And for bid strategy, choose “Auto bid”.

  • Placements

Leave all placements selected.

  • Demographics

Set the age to 18+

The location is up to you. I recommend US only or US and Canada.

  • Targeting features

Your first ad group will only target follower look-alikes.

Select accounts with similar topics and demographics until you reach an audience size of 3M-30M.

10M+ is ideal but some niche newsletters with lower ad budgets can run ads to an audience size as low as 3M.

After you create your ads (more on this later) you’ll copy this ad group and change the targeting parameters to test a new audience.

Your next ad group will target keywords only.

Select keywords only your audience uses. Add keywords until you have an audience size of 3M-30M. Ideally over 10M.

Then copy this ad group. Your final ad group will be interests only. Select interests until you have an audience size of 3M-30M. Ideally over 10M.

Now you have 3 ad groups with 3 different targeting types:

  • Ad group #1 - Follower look-alikes

  • Ad group #2 - Keywords

  • Ad group #3 - Interests

I’ve found these to be the best targeting features. Separating them into 3 ad groups will help you determine which audiences and targeting features work best for you.

After 14-30 days of testing, you’ll likely find one of these target features works best for you.

Later on, we’ll talk about testing more ad groups and pausing ad groups.

5) Ads Set Up

In each ad group, you should test 3-5 ads. The ads should be the same in each ad group.

To do this, you’ll create 3-5 ads in your original ad group, then copy that ad group and change the targeting features as I covered above.

I recommend using 2 different images and 2 different copy variations to start. This will give you 4 total ads.

The images or videos you use must be square. I recommend 1080x1080 pixels.

  • Website URL

Make sure to use a UTM tracking link with your website URL so you can see traffic and subscriber analytics with your ESP and Google Analytics.

I use this tool to build UTM links.

  • Here’s the UTM structure I recommend:

UTM source = twitterads

UTM medium = tw_adgroupname

Note: Add your ad group name to the bolded text above. Here’s what that would look like using the example I used in the Ad Group Set Up section:


UTM campaign = tw_adcreativename

Note: Add your ad name to the bolded text above. I recommend numbering your ad names and adding a 1-2 word description of what the ad creative is.

For example: 1_drakememe_image

This would make the UTM campaign name for that ad:


Ad Creative Tips

There are 3 elements to Twitter ad creative:

1) Tweet Text (Copy above the image/video)

The most important part of your ad creative is your Tweet Text. It’s what people see first.

This copy should be short, attention-grabbing, and benefit-focused.

I’ve found 1-2 sentences work best. However, it’s ok to test longer copy, but if you do, make sure to use spacing and bullets to make it more readable.

2) Media (The image or video)

Here are the types of images that work best:

  • Memes

  • Text graphics

  • Carousel of content

  • Testimonials/Reviews

  • Screenshots of Tweets

I’ll share examples below.

Videos can work well, but they should be 5-15 seconds long and they must have subtitles and/or text to explain the audio.

Twitter users aren't scrolling with their sound on, so your videos should communicate with text and simple visuals, not sound.

3) Headline (The copy below the media)

The headline of your Twitter ad creative is below the media. It’s usually what people see last before clicking the ad link or continuing to scroll.

Because it’s the last element of the ad people see, I recommend using social proof, authority, or a call-to-action in your headline.

Also, I’ve found short headlines to work best. Around 3-7 words.

Here are a few examples:

  • Join For FREE

  • Subscribe To (Get Benefit)

  • Join (Number) Subscribers

  • Get Instant Access To (Lead Magnet)

  • Join Readers From (Prestigious Companies)

Ad Creative Examples

Here are some of the best Twitter ads I’ve made and seen. I also created a swipe file with more examples here.

Campaign Management

Twitter takes longer to optimize than other ad platforms. I recommend only making new ad and ad group tests or changes every 7-14 days.

Also, you’ll need to create “Custom Metrics” to see how many subscribers and the cost per subscriber from your ad campaign.

Do that with the button here:

When To Pause and Test New Ad Groups and Ads

After your ads have been running for 7-14 days, you can pause underperforming ad groups and test new ad groups. I recommend always testing 2-5 ad groups at a time.

You should focus your ad optimization efforts on the ad group level. I’ve seen discrepancies between the number of subscribers that the ad group and the ad level report.

For example, your ad group might say you have 100 subscribers in the past 7 days. But when you look at the ads inside that ad group, the total number of subscribers will be 30.

This is a bug I’ve seen across multiple Twitter ad accounts.

The ad group number of subscribers is accurate, but the ad level reporting is not. This makes it harder to make optimization decisions at the ad level.

Because of this, I recommend pausing ads based on the amount of spend they get. If an ad gets 0 or very little spend in 14 days, it’s safe to say that ad is not working and you can pause it.

Then, when you pause ads, test new ads so you’re always testing 3-5 ads at the same time.

How To Improve Open Rate and CTR From Ads

By using Beehiiv and UTM tracking links, you can get deep insights into the quality of subscribers you get from ads.

To do this, create a segment from your UTM source to see the overall open rate, CTR, and unsubscribe rate from Twitter ad subscribers.

If you want to go deeper, you can create segments from your UTM medium and UTM campaign names to see the quality of subscribers from a specific audience or ad creative.

By creating these segments, you’ll find some ads and audiences have higher or lower open rates and CTR than others.

You can then pause those ad groups or ads in Twitter ad manager to focus your budget on driving higher-quality subscribers.

Just wait until you have 500+ subscribers in a segment and they’ve been on your email list for 30+ days before pausing ads or ad groups based on open rate and CTR. This way you’ll have enough data to make a decision.

Other Resources

Here are a few resources that will help you get the best results from Twitter ads:

The Best Links

📈 Growth

How to create valuable content with collaborations (link)

How Superhuman grew to 250k subscribers in 5 months (link)

Over 100 newsletters are getting subscribers on auto-pilot with Refind (link)*

💰 Monetization

Why everyone is starting a paid community and making millions (link)

📬 Engagement

How to curate newsletter content (link)

Why the Welcome Email is your first date (link)

Tools to keep up with news and curate a daily newsletter (link)

How Justin Welsh gets a 58% open rate at 115k subscribers (link)


How I grew my newsletter from 0 to 5k subscribers in 100 days (link)

📰 Newsletter News

Big updates to the Beehiiv newsletter editor (link)

*This is a sponsored link


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