I never advertised on Twitter before. But I have a new business that I wanted to promote, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Here’s what went wrong.

Where Is the Twitter Advertising Link?


Oh, right. Way down there. Sure, that makes sense.

Okay, so we click that, and we’re off to the races, right?


The Illegibility of Ineligibility

TwitterAd_Eligibility1My account is ineligible to advertise on Twitter?


That’s frustrating.

Okay, so how do I learn more about Twitter Ads eligibility?

That warning isn’t clickable, so I went to Google and searched my way to Twitter’s help desk, where I found this page, which includes qualifiers like this.


So, apparently, my business account is too new to be successful at advertising… so I’m not allowed to try.

Instead, I need to “spend a few weeks familiarizing myself with Twitter’s best practices.”

As an onboarding strategy, this has at least three mindboggling flaws.

First, on what other social platform are you not allowed to give the service your money immediately? Twitter is basically saying, “No, use our service for free until we allow you to pay for it.” That’s kind of insane.

Second, do they seriously think businesses are signing up for Twitter without any familiarity with the service? Given Twitter’s much lower adoption rate (and revenue growth) compared to Facebook, I’d bet most Twitter business profiles are started by individual users who are already quite familiar with Twitter’s “best practices.” (I’ve been using Twitter since 2006. Can I take some kind of CLEP test to graduate from Twitter jail early?)

Lastly — and perhaps most importantly for Twitter’s bottom line — if I can gain followers organically in order to become eligible to advertise… why wouldn’t I just keep improving my organic game and bypass paid advertising entirely?

That’s like saying “in order to prove you can live in this house, you must first live comfortably in this smaller house for a few years. Then we’ll allow you to buy the bigger house.” When the time comes to buy the bigger house, don’t be surprised if the buyer decides to stay put — or if they’ve already moved across the street to Facebook, where you can buy the big hou– I mean, where you can start advertising from day one. (In fact, that’s Facebook’s whole plan.)

Meanwhile, hey, go follow Freelance Rush on Twitter and let’s find out when its eligibility kicks in.

Categories: Social Media


Mike McGrail · July 15, 2015 at 4:01 pm

Hi Justin thanks for flagging this, have never seen this before. Have you reached out to Twitter? I do find them helpful when it comes to ad support.

    Justin Kownacki · July 15, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    No, I haven’t reached out to Twitter about this directly (which I realize makes me something of a hypocrite, since I prefer to solve problems rather than just point them out). But I have trouble going out of my way just to give someone else my money.

Scott Paley · July 15, 2015 at 3:10 pm

FWIW, I have found Facebook ads to also be way, way cheaper. Maybe Twitter provides more qualified traffic – not sure. But if your goal is simply followers and subscribers (for now) FB is probably the way to go from a paid ad standpoint.

    Justin Kownacki · July 15, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Yeah, I’ve had great success advertising with Facebook in the past. I’ve heard Twitter’s targeting is quite impressive, but I’m curious if their ad conversion rates are as good as Facebook’s. If so, that might justify a higher spend… but probably not.

Eric Garland · July 15, 2015 at 1:41 pm

I was thinking that Twitter’s advertising wouldn’t work because I find their ads intrusive, annoying, and pointless. Ergo I’m as uninterested as buying their ads as I am consuming them as a user.

    Justin Kownacki · July 15, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    So many user experience issues on so many levels… I swear, if Twitter launched from scratch today, it would never gain traction.

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