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Bidding and auctions
There are three key components to how much you will pay for Twitter Ads. Read below to find out how auctions, ad score, and bidding works.
The Twitter Ads auction
Twitter Ads serve using an auction, where advertisers bid against each other to have their ads shown to the audience they are targeting. Unlike a traditional auction, Twitter’s ad auction considers not only the price the advertiser is willing to pay, but also the quality of the ad. Each time your ad wins an auction, it will serve once to a user on Twitter. We call this "an impression".
Your ads will automatically enter the auction once your campaign is running, and the auctions your ads enter are determined by the targeting criteria for your campaign. For example, if you target the interest “Basketball” your ads will compete in auctions to serve to Twitter users who are interested in basketball. Our auction algorithm will compare your ad to other ads which are also targeting that interest, and the ad that wins the auction will be shown to that user.
If the user who sees your ad performs the billable action of your campaign (ex. clicks your ad), Twitter will charge you for that action using what we call a second price auction model. This model ensures that you will only ever pay incrementally more than needed for your ad to beat out the second place ad in the auction. If you bid $1.40 and beat an otherwise identical ad bidding $1.00, your campaign will be charged $1.01 if the user it was shown to makes the billable action.
Remember, if the user does not take the billable action you are not charged for the impression.
It’s important to have competitive bids within the auction so your ads can compete with other advertisers and serve to users on Twitter.
However, bid is not the only thing taken into account in the auction, equally important is the quality of your ad.
Each ad that you create will be given a ‘quality score”, which is used along with your bid to compete in auctions. Quality score is determined by taking factors into account such as:
- Resonance: Are people engaging with your ad? Do they click, like, and/or Retweet it often?
- Relevance: Does the Tweet’s contents align with your audience’s interests?
- Recency: Are your Tweets fresh? Twitter is what’s happening now, so our auctions reward up-to-date content.
To win auctions and maximize your campaign’s success, your ads must have both a good quality score and bid. We call this overall “ad score,” which helps determine who wins the auction and serves ads on the platform.
Find helpful tips on how to Tweet the best content and maximize your ad score.
Bidding on Twitter Ads
We have three bid types on Twitter Ads, which one you select will be based on your goals:
Automatic bid type is designed to auto-optimize your bid to maximize results at the lowest price (within your budget). We recommend this bid type for new advertisers, as instead of having to set your bid yourself the bid will be chosen on your behalf to ensure competitive serve within the auction. Automatic bid is the easiest way to quickly get your campaigns live and serving impressions on the platform.
Maximum bid type allows greater control over how much you pay per billable action. In this bid type you can choose exactly how much you are willing to pay for a billable action (your maximum bid), and your results will not be charged over this price. This bid type is helpful for experienced advertisers who know exactly how much they’re looking to pay per billable engagement at scale.
Target Bid type is an option in our Follower and Website clicks and conversion campaign objectives, where you can name the bid you’d like to pay per billable action. Your campaign will then auto-optimize your bids to achieve a daily average cost that meets or beats your target. You will pay the actual average cost for all link clicks in a day. If you change your bid over the course of a day, it will average to the highest cost you set.
Within the campaign setup form we provide real-time suggestions on what other advertisers are bidding, so you’ll always be able to set a competitive bid (if you're using maximum or target bid type). You will not need to set your bid if you choose the Automatic bid type.
Bidding and auctions FAQ's
How much should I set my bid for?Arrow down icon
If you’re not sure how to set your bid, we recommend using the Automatic bidding type, which will automatically choose a bid for your campaign that is competitive within the auction.
When using the Maximum Bidding type, how much you set your bid for depends on how much you’re willing to pay for a billable action. Think about how much a certain objective will be worth to you over the lifetime of your relationship with that user.
Twitter provides bid guidance within the campaign setup form, which shows ranges of what others are bidding. This will help you set your bid according to how competitive you’d like your campaign to be within the Auction. When you create or edit a campaign, a suggested bid will appear next to the maximum bid when you enter a campaign budget, daily budget, and campaign start/end dates. If you change your campaign budget or daily budget, the suggested bid will update accordingly. Until you enter a maximum bid yourself, the maximum bid will automatically be filled in with the mid-point of the bid guidance.
Does bid guidance guarantee I can deliver my full budget?Arrow down icon
Our bid guidance is an educated recommendation based on our internal algorithms. While they will help you bid more effectively, we cannot guarantee that your campaign will deliver in full or that you will spend through your daily budget.
Additionally, while bid guidance is intended to be a helpful suggestion, you can always set your bid outside of the recommended range. You’re free to bid any value you like that is at or above the minimum bid of $.01 per billable action.
If you would like to consistently spend through your desired daily budgets, we recommend selecting the automatic bidding type. Since the bid is optimized for a given campaign objective and budget on the advertiser’s behalf, you are more likely to spend through your configured daily budget.
Want more on optimization? Check out our campaign optimization guides.
How does targeting affect campaign serve?Arrow down icon
The targeting you choose determines the size of your campaign’s audience. Generally speaking, the larger your campaign audience the more easily your campaign will serve, as there are more users to serve the ad to.
There are two categories of targeting on Twitter Ads, additive and restrictive.
- Additive targeting types - "OR" targeting: These targeting types will layer onto each other making your potential campaign audience larger. For example, a user who fits Targeting piece 1 OR piece 2 OR piece 3, etc will be eligible to be served the ad.
- Restrictive targeting types - "AND" targeting: These targeting types will make your potential campaign audience smaller, as they'll all be respected. For example, only a user who fits in targeting piece 1 AND piece 2 AND piece 3 will be eligible to be served the ad.
With additive targeting, the more criteria you add to your campaign targeting the larger the audience. For example, if you select #basketball, #football, (keyword targeting) and @TwitterSports (follower look-alikes targeting) in your campaign, users who fit any one, two, or all of those criteria could potentially be served your ad. By using multiple additive targeting types you’re expanding the size of your campaign audience.
With restrictive targeting you can home in on specific users by decreasing the campaign audience size. Selecting any of these targeting types in your campaign will restrict your campaign audience, so that it only serves to users who meet these criteria. For example, if you select ‘iOS devices’ in your campaign setup, your campaign will only serve to users viewing Twitter on an iOS device.
You can use a mixture of additive and restrictive targeting in your campaign to reach the users you’re interested in while maintaining scale.
Additive targeting options:These targeting types will layer onto each other making your potential campaign audience larger. For example, a user who fits Targeting piece 1 OR piece 2 OR piece 3, etc will be eligible to be served the ad.
Restrictive targeting options:
These targeting types will make your potential campaign audience smaller, as they'll all be respected. For example, a user who fits in targeting piece 1 AND piece 2 AND piece 3 will be eligible to be served the ad.
How much do Twitter Ads cost?Arrow down icon
How much you pay in your campaigns is set by you. By setting up your budget during campaign setup, you can control the amount you'll be charged. Learn how to set your campaign dates and budget.
The price of each billable action in your campaign is not a fixed rate, as our campaigns are priced in our Auction model. The targeting, creatives, and bid you select in your campaign setup will help determine how much each billable action costs.
We recommend setting your campaign budget to an amount you're comfortable spending, and then follow our campaign optimization guides to reach your goal price per action.
More on Twitter Ads pricing.