Facebook Ads vs. Promoted Tweets: Who’s Better at Mobile Advertising?

In case you missed it, Facebook recently announced a surge in their quarterly earnings due to increased adoption of their mobile ad units. We here at Point It have been running mobile ads on Facebook for quite some time and can attest that, without a doubt, we’re seeing higher engagement rates. But higher engagement rates don’t always correlate to higher profit (or any for that matter) so we’ve had to be careful about what it is we were measuring or what the campaign goals were. And while there are obvious benefits to running mobile ads on Facebook, there are just as many reasons to consider mobile-targeted ads on Twitter.

The reality is, while mobile ads on Facebook have huge potential, they’re not good a lot of things…and this is where Twitter Ads can fill the gaps or complement Facebook’s offerings. Choosing which platform to use, though, depends in large part on what your campaign goals are. After running a number of mobile ads on both platforms across various verticals, we can say, with some confidence, there are pros and cons to each.

This is by no means all-inclusive (and there of course exceptions to everything) but here is our general feeling on how each platform is good or bad at accomplishing a given goal:

Fans and Followers

Fans & Followers

Mobile ads on both platforms can be extremely successful in generating new fans & followers, given how easily this is accomplished via a quick one-click on a follower or like button. (Of course, whenever you are running fan acquisition campaigns, consider the value of every new fan)



We’ve found both platforms are also quite effective at promoting local events. Given the inherent nature of events as being social, this may not come as a huge surprise. Yet, I don’t see it happening very often. Facebook does have the upper hand on targeting though, which offers zip code or radius targeting (down to 10 miles). Twitter, on the other hand, only offers metro or DMA targeting, which may include too large of an area for some. (According to Twitter insiders, this will most likely change soon)

App Downloads

Here Facebook clearly wins out. By registering your app and installing the appropriate SDK, mobile app ads offer a very easy way to boost app discovery & downloads via a few quick clicks

Offsite content


Offsite Content:

This gets a bit tricky, but I have to give this one to Twitter. Reason being, users on Twitter expect, generally speaking, that they’ll be directed to a destination other than Twitter, whenever clicking on a link in a tweet. In other words, it’s more of a Google search-like experience. On the other hand, it can be really hard (but definitely not impossible) to persuade someone on Facebook to want to go elsewhere. In addition, most of us don’t like to be pitched to on Facebook, whereas on Twitter this is a bit more accepted. Therefore, if you’re trying to give the hard sell, lean towards Twitter first.

At the end of the day, what matters most is determining first what the goals of the campaign are. Secondly, you have to look at which platform your customers are on (or likely to be on). But understand this, vast numbers of people use these platforms every day and more and more are accessing them on a phone or tablet. Matter of fact, for one of our clients we’ve actually switched our entire budget to targeting mobile devices on Twitter due to higher engagement rates.


Ian Mackie About the author
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