Comparing Twitter Ads vs. Facebook Ads: The Complete Breakdown

Last updated on by Stephanie Mialki in Advertising, Facebook Advertising

Many marketers have experimented with Facebook vs Google ads at one point or another — naturally, since the two are major advertising powerhouses. They often forget about Twitter, which has been right up there with Facebook in terms of social media marketing popularity.

But if both platforms are go-to channels for marketers for digital advertising, how do you choose between Twitter ads vs. Facebook ads:

Today, we’re comparing both advertising channels in several areas to help with your decision.

The complete breakdown: Twitter ads vs. Facebook ads

Audience

Choosing between Twitter vs. Facebook ads isn’t just about finding the “best” platform, or the one with the most users you can reach. It’s also about one that allows you to connect with the right audience.

Facebook is easily the most active social network, but some other factors to consider are:

Starting with Facebook, users range fairly evenly across age ranges:

Even the senior population here is growing faster than ever, with about 9 in 10 “social seniors” over the age of 65 having an account today. This could be a testament to the platform’s ease-of-use and accessibility.

Meanwhile, Twitter has a much younger user base, and is most popular with people in their late 20s and early 30s:

Audience intent

Equally as important is the intent of each platforms’ users, because Facebook and Twitter aren’t necessarily used for the same reasons.

Twitter is a faster-paced platform with informal social connections. People use this channel primarily to discover new content and trending topics (news, sporting analysis, product/service updates, etc.), and to follow anyone and everyone of interest (celebrities, politicians, and journalists).

Conversely, the majority of Facebook users are there to stay deeply connected and engaged with their family, friends, and people they know. They also use it to remain up-to-date on their favorite brands.

So while Twitter is like an elevator pitch for your brand, Facebook is great for reaching out and connecting with your audience.

Ad types

Both platforms offer a wide variety of text and video ads, yet Facebook offers a few ad types that Twitter doesn’t, including:

Instant Experiences (formerly Canvas Ads) — fully immersive and optimized for mobile:

Stories ads that also deliver content in a fullscreen, immersive way:

Offer ads to highlight timely discounts and promotions, and encourage people to shop:

Targeting options

Both Twitter and Facebook have the usual targeting parameters: demographics, geographics, interests, etc. — but Twitter has the upper hand here with its unique keyword and audience targeting capabilities.

It enables advertisers to target users who have used specific words and hashtags in their Tweets, as well as any other users who have interacted with those Tweets in the last seven days. On Facebook, you can only target by topic; not a keyword.

You can also reach an audience on Twitter with Tweet engager targeting — a form of remarketing to people who recently saw or engaged with your tweet:

What’s more, is that you can target Twitter users who follow specific accounts with your Twitter ads. Use an analytics tool to download a list of every follower for any Twitter account, and then create your own tailored audience to target.

Although Facebook has custom audiences, which is fantastic — you need to have a user’s email address or phone number to reach them. On Twitter, all you need is a user’s handle.

Cost

According to the AdStage Benchmark Report, Twitter’s median CPM is $5.93, and median CPC is $0.40. Those prices are both lower than Facebook’s advertising costs, with its median CPM at $8.35, and median CPC at $0.57.

Twitter ads pricing is determined by your allocated budget and bid for each campaign. You have three bid options:

  1. Automatic — Determined by Twitter’s algorithm based on your campaign goal
  2. Maximum — Set by choosing the highest amount you would pay for a follow, click, or interaction
  3. Target — Set by selecting the amount you would pay for a specific desired action (ideal if your goal is gaining followers or attracting clicks to your website)

What you pay for depends on the campaign type:

What’s great about promoting on Twitter is that you only pay when you’ve achieved your marketing objective. So if your goal is website conversions, you only pay when people convert on your site. If you run an app install campaign, you only pay for successful app installs. If you run a follower campaign, you only pay for the people who started following your account.

Facebook’s ad cost depends on the competition from other advertisers for the targeted audiences. Generally speaking, the larger the audience, the higher the cost. However, Facebook offers several pricing structures based on ad types and advertising goals — and bidding is based on the amount of money you’re willing to spend on a click, impression, view, or app install.

Ad performance

When comparing Twitter ads vs. Facebook ads, there are several aspects of ad performance to consider:

Reach

Looking only at total users (target audience aside) Facebook ads win with their reach. Twitter’s 330 million users can’t compete with Facebook’s +2.1 billion users, and fewer people means less reach.

Engagement

According to Rival IQ’s 2018 Social Media Industry Benchmark Report, Facebook’s median engagement rate per post across all industries is 0.16%:

Twitter’s, on the other hand, is only 0.046%:

One reason for this is that brands on Facebook have more time to make an impact on their audience than brands on Twitter since Tweets don’t stay visible for long before they’re pushed down by new Tweets.

CTR

CTR is a direct relation to how effective the platform engagement is based on the platform itself, along with ad copy, targeting, design, and more. In this category, the two channels are on an even playing field, with a median CTR of 1.46% on Facebook, and a median CTR of 1.55% on Twitter.

Analytics capabilities

Twitter gives advertisers the opportunity to generate analytics reports segmented by interest (shown below), language, platform, gender, keywords, and location:

You can also view analytics based on Twitter handles, which is an extremely useful feature that Facebook doesn’t offer:

Being able to pinpoint exactly which segments of your audience is working — even the specific users — can significantly help improve your ROI.

Facebook also has some unique analytics options:

Twitter ads vs Facebook ads: which will it be?

Deciding between Twitter vs. Facebook Ads is up to your brand and specific campaigns. Both platforms can help with brand awareness and generate leads and sales in unique ways, but there’s also some crossover. Many companies even prefer to use a combination of channels in their social media marketing campaigns to maximize results.

To determine which solution is right for you, download the Instapage digital advertising reference guide for the most updated ad specs, best practices, examples, and more. Then experiment with Twitter vs. Facebook advertising, test your results, and decide which one is best for your brand.

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