A Guide to Twitter's Tailored Audiences and How to Use Them for Retargeting

We’ve covered all of Twitter’s targeting options in previous posts, in this blog we’re going into a lot more depth on a specific type of targeting — Tailored Audiences.

Why? Because Tailored Audiences (much like Facebook’s Custom Audiences) give you the ability to create retargeting campaigns. This allows you to re-engage with people who already know your brand, retarget people who haven’t converted and create great marketing funnels.

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What is a Tailored Audience?

A Tailored Audience is Twitter’s equivalent to a Facebook Custom Audience. It allows you to build an audience of people who have already engaged in some way with your brand and target them through Twitter advertising. It does this by matching data you upload or collect via a code snippet on your website and matching this data to Twitter accounts, populating audience lists that can then be used in your ad targeting.

What are the different types of Tailored Audience?

You can create three different types of Tailored Audiences on Twitter:



Upload lists of users based on emails or Twitter usernames to target. If you’re in the EU, bare in mind that with the implementation of GDPR you likely need permission to target the users of any email lists you upload. In addition, you can also create lists using a data partner’s email database (you need to have a direct relationship with such a data partner to do so).



Target people that have visited your website or taken specific action on your website. This is done by installing the Twitter Website Tag, which collects data of everyone who visits your website and matches this to a person’s Twitter user account.



Target people who install or engage in specific actions on your mobile app. This is done by installing the conversion tracking code or working with a mobile measurement partner, more information can be found in this blog.

Once you have set up the necessary tracking to collect the data you need, you’ll create your audiences in Twitter’s Audience Manager and select them for your campaign during your regular campaign creation process.

It’s important to note that if your Tailored Audience is less than 500 users, then you will not be able to use it in your ad campaign.

In addition to being able to both target and exclude your Tailored Audiences from your Ad Groups, you can also create Lookalike Audiences based on them. Twitter gives you the option to “Expand reach by targeting similar users”, meaning that Twitter will determine which users are similar to those in your original Tailored Audience. A Lookalike Audience uses this expanded reach AND excludes your original Tailored Audience — essentially finding a whole new group of prospects for you. The Lookalike Audience will generally be 10 to 20 times the size of your original Tailored Audience.

How to create a Tailored Audience

Providing your conversion tracking tags are set up, begin creating your Tailored Audience by navigating to the Twitter Ads Manager and selecting Audience Manager from the Tools menu.

Twitter Ads Manager Tools Menu.png

The Audience Manager screen is where you will manage all your Tailored Audiences. From here select the type of Audience you want to create from the Create new audience menu.

Twitter Audience Manager Create New Audience.png

In this example I have chosen to create a Tailored Audience based on my website tag. As Twitter recommends, it’s best to use the universal website tag. If you’ve already installed the tag, all you have to do is name your audience and provide the information on the URLs a user needs to have visited to populate this audience.

In the example below, I’m creating an audience of anyone who has visited the Adgo blog and, therefore, a URL that contains the word blog.

Twitter Blog Retargeting Tailored Audience.png

Click Save tailored audience and your audience will begin to populate in the Audience Manager.

Once populated the Audience Manager will display the size of your audience or, if less than 500 users match the criteria, display the text Audience Too Small.

Twitter Audience Manager Audience Sizes.png

How to use a Tailored Audience

Using a Tailored Audience in your Twitter ad campaign is very simple. Go through your normal campaign creation process and when you get to the audience targeting stage, your Tailored Audiences will be the first selection option presented to you.

Twitter Tailored Audience Selection.png

Simply search for the name of your Tailored Audience or find it through the drop down selections and choose it for your Ad Group targeting.

Any more targeting selections you choose for your Ad Group will further filter your Tailored Audience. For example, after selecting a Website Visitor audience, if you proceed to select gender Female and location United States, you will only be targeting people in your Tailored Audience who are female and based in the United States. Pretty straightforward.

Marketing Strategies for Twitter’s Tailored Audiences

So now you’ve created your Tailored Audiences, how can you implement a marketing campaign that will get the most value from them? Here’s six ways you can start.

Exclude Conversions

If your product is a one time conversion or part of a larger ecommerce store, exclude a Tailored Audience of people that have completed your conversion. No one likes being targeted with ads for an item they bought on your website over a week ago. So make sure you don’t.

Retarget Abandoned Checkouts

People who start the checkout process but don’t convert are some of your highest value prospects. Don’t let them get away. Include a Tailored Audience of people who have triggered a checkout event on your website and exclude a Tailored Audience of people who have completed the purchase. This will give you your abandoned checkouts. Retarget them with a message that pushes them over the line to convert.

Retarget Email Subscribers

Email lists where people have intentionally given you their details—whether they be from blog subscribes, content downloads or enquiries—are high value prospects. They’re familiar with your brand and felt your offer was valuable enough to give you their details. Upload lists of emails directly to Twitter Tailored Audiences to retarget prospects with an offer that takes them to the next stage in their customer journey.

Retarget Mobile App Users

Target people who are regular users of your app or take specific actions within it. This could include targeting people who are currently using a freemium version of your app who need a push to upgrade to a paid version. If it’s an ecommerce app, retarget people who have browsed specific products or categories on your store.

Retarget Past Customers

Promoting a new product to past purchasers is an easy win. If you’re promoting something like a recurring event then target people who attended last time. If you have an ecommerce store, dive into your data to discover combinations of products that people purchase. Find the significant trends, then target people who have bought one product but not the other.

Build a Multi-Stage Marketing Funnel

Create a multi-stage customer journey to attract, engage and convert your customers. This will require multiple layered Tailored Audiences which exclude the Tailored Audiences that are later in the journey.


For example, a SaaS company could create a journey that initially retargets everyone who visits their blog with an ad to download their eBook, then retargets everyone who downloads the eBook with an ad to get a free trial of their product. Anyone who takes the free-trial but doesn’t purchase the paid product could then be retargeted as well.

In order to execute this, you would need the following Tailored Audiences:

  • Website Blog Visitors (populated with everyone who visits the blog pages)
  • eBook Downloads (populated with everyone who has downloaded the eBook)
  • Free Trials (populated with everyone who has taken a free trial of the product)
  • Customers (populated with everyone who is a customer of the product).

The layered audience structure would look as follows:

Funnel Stage Audience Selection Campaign Goal
Awareness Include: Interest or Lookalike prospecting audiences
Exclude: Website Blog Visitors
Exclude: eBook Downloads
Exclude: Free Trials
Exclude: Customers
Drive relevant traffic to the blog
Interest Include: Website Blog Visitors
Exclude: eBook Downloads
Exclude: Free Trials
Exclude: Customers
Retarget blog visitors to download an eBook in exchange for their contact information
Consideration Include: eBook Downloads
Exclude: Free Trials
Exclude: Customers
Retarget eBook downloaders with offer of a free product trial
Conversion Include: Free Trials
Exclude: Customers
Retarget Free Trial users who haven’t converted to the paid product

This is just an example customer journey flow. The offers and campaign objectives could change based on your campaign goals. But the general flow of including and excluding audiences will be the same.

Final Thoughts

Like Custom Audiences on Facebook, Tailored Audiences on Twitter can give your campaign superpowers. The ability to retarget your most engaged prospects and customers with timely messages is the key to creating great customer experiences and converting prospects.

If you’re not utilizing Tailored Audiences then you’re only scraping the surface of what Twitter Ads can offer. Make sure you don’t keep missing out — start using Tailored Audiences today.