Tweet tips: Most effective calls to action on Twitter

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

One of the top questions we get from businesses is “What should I tweet?” Our typical answer (“Well, it depends…”) isn’t always the most popular answer. But it’s the most honest one.  

After all, your unique goals and your specific audience on Twitter influence what Tweets will be most “effective.” Plus, on Twitter, you are what you tweet. The quality of your content – how interesting, conversational and useful it is – ultimately determines how engaged your followers will be. 

Although there isn’t a single silver bullet for tweeting success, over the years, we’ve analyzed our internal Tweet engagement data to determine some general best practices. In this new recurring “Tweet tips” blog series, we’ll share insights to help advertisers craft the most engaging Tweets.

We know there are times when marketers want to balance having a conversation with driving immediate action. So, in our first blog post, we explore the most effective call-to-action strategies in Tweets. 

Background and methodology

This study analyzed approximately 20,000 Promoted Tweets randomly sampled from a three-month period in 2012 across direct and mid-market sales advertisers. The study looked at how various types of Promoted Tweet engagements differed depending on which types of calls to action were included in the Promoted Tweet, as compared to a baseline of Promoted Tweets including no calls to action. 

Here are four findings you can use to optimize Tweets for action-oriented campaigns:

Most effective call to action #1: Ask for a download. 

Have a new product to promote that’s available for download? Want to generate leads with downloadable content on your site?  

Promoted Tweets in timelines that explicitly ask people to download accompanied by a link increase URL clicks by an average of 13%. Promoted Tweets in search that feature this call to action also increase clicks by an average of 11%.

Tweeting tips: Give people clear direction and incentive to click on the link you provide in a Tweet. Use hashtags and @handle mentions sparingly to keep clicks focused on one action: downloads. You can create a sense of urgency by including a deadline. 

Most effective call to action #2: Ask for a Retweet. 

Interested in turning followers into advocates and generating valuable earned media? Offer them a clear, compelling reason to retweet your messages. Contests or sweepstakes are a popular way to incentivize Retweets. You can also encourage users to retweet to show their affiliation with your brand or agreement with a statement.

Promoted Tweets in timelines with an ask to retweet increased Retweets by an average of 311%. An ask to retweet in Promoted Tweets in search increased Retweets on average by 317%.  

The best performing Promoted Tweets were twice as likely to spell out the word ‘Retweet’ (instead of simply using ‘RT’) as the bottom performing Promoted Tweets. The best performing Promoted Tweets also contained the call to retweet at the beginning instead of at the end of the Tweet.

Tweeting tips: Always contextualize why your Tweet is worth sharing. In other words, give people something valuable in return for their Retweet. Keep formatting clear and simple so people know exactly what you want them to do: share your message.  

Most effective call to action #3: Ask for a follow.  

Looking to extend your reach to new audiences on Twitter? It might be as simple as asking for a follow. 

Promoted Tweets in timelines that asked for a follow increased follows by an average of 258%. Follows increased by an average of 86% when the same call to action was included in Promoted Tweets in search. 

Tweeting tips:  Highlight the exclusive content your account offers followers. For example, you may want to emphasize that your account will share behind-the-scenes photos from popular events or sneak peeks at new products that won’t be available anywhere else. Consider sweetening the incentive to follow with a contest or prize-related promotion. 

Most effective call to action #4: Ask for a reply.

Want to spark a conversation with Twitter users? Pose a question and give people some motivation to engage one-on-one with your Tweets.

Promoted Tweets in timelines that highlight an ask to reply increased replies by an average of 334%. Replies increased on average by 307% when this call to action appeared in Promoted Tweets in search. 

Tweeting tips: Get users interested by getting personal in your Tweets. Use a conversational tone to humanize your business and make Twitter users feel comfortable responding to you via an @reply. To maximize the responses you get, combine the question with a contest or other exclusive incentive.


Remember, Twitter is about conversation. Reserve the calls to action above for your most action-oriented campaigns. To avoid turning people off, balance Tweets with strong calls to action with other kinds of useful and entertaining content. 

Check out more tips for creating engaging Tweets and follow @TwitterAds for real-time examples of engaging Tweets by brands and businesses.

Posted by
Jennifer Romanek (@jenniromanek)
Sales Intelligence