Dear @jack and @ameet, this is why Twitter ads are broken

A few days ago I was very surprised after clicking on my Twitter ‘Notifications’ tab to see that CEO, Jack Dorsey, had sent me a tweet saying “How specifically is it broken?”

It turns out Jack had been asking for feedback on improving Twitter and a friend of mine, Jesse, had told Jack that Twitter’s ad platform needed a lot of work and tagged me in the tweet. Ameet, the VP of Revenue at Twitter, was also included in Jack’s reply.

I replied to Jack saying I would write a Medium post explaining some of the reasons their ad platform needs a lot of work, so here we are.

‘Custom audiences’ can’t make its mind up.

It’s simple really. Some days I look at my custom audiences in Twitter and I’m told how many people are in them, and then a few hours later I am told that my custom audiences are too small and I can’t advertise to them.

They weren’t too small a few hours ago…

I am aware there is a 500 person audience minimum, but I have uploaded far bigger lists than that and still had the same issue.

I’m not the only one with this problem. We can go back as far as 18 months ago where someone shared in your own forums that this was an issue.

They were clearly uploading a list of 718 people Twitter recognized, but still couldn’t advertise to them.

(Note to those new to Twitter Ads: This is not anything about setting your reach too small. It’s literally Twitter saying you can’t even attempt to have any reach because you didn’t add enough people to your audience).

It’s also a little worrying that the staff responding in that thread also didn’t seem to understand what the original poster was asking.

Custom audiences and retargeting needs to work if you want the kind of revenue numbers that Facebook are pulling in.

We need a ‘Frequency’ option

I can be running a great ad for a few days (getting really cheap clicks) and then the next day that ad is suddenly getting next to no clicks, even though I haven’t changed anything to do with my targeting.

The reason is likely because I’m starting to max out my reach with the audience I have selected, and people are seeing it over and over again, but I have no way of knowing that.

Frequency is something you’ll find in Facebook’s platform and let’s you know when your ads are being shown to the same people too often.

Once the frequency starts to rise over 1.0 I usually want to turn a campaign off (I’m not some huge million-dollar start-up just buying ads for “branding”) so I don’t wake up to lost money.

Sadly with Twitter, I often wake up to find an ad really under-performing, which I could have turned off much earlier.

Your platform is incredibly negative. Let us police it ourselves

Twitter is a breeding ground for ‘trolls’. I know this. You know this. Everyone knows this.

I don’t know how you are going to fix it on the site as a whole, but it would be nice to be able to ‘delete replies’ from an ad so that other people can’t see them.

We can delete negative comments on ads on Facebook so why not on Twitter?

I’ll admit I did laugh at this one.

I don’t mean deleting the tweet as a whole, but simply when people look at replies to an ad we should be able to hide the completely stupid ones.

Your mobile version of the ads manager is almost useless

At this point it’s not even worth being able to look at ads on my mobile phone.

I can’t see how much clicks cost.

I can’t add any filters besides what you set as default.

I have to scroll through all of my tweets to find one I want to promote as you can’t click “Tweets from ad campaigns” in mobile view.

I would be happier with a broken, non-responsive design over being able to do pretty much nothing when on my phone.

So…give us a ‘view as desktop’ link, please?

Links don’t work…everywhere (not even your Terms and Conditions)

This is the one that surprises me the most. It’s as if the people who built this thing don’t use the platform themselves, at all.

Every time I upload a custom audience I have to agree to something I can’t read. This seems a bit…dodgy?

Clicking on this link does absolutely nothing.

I’ve tried multiple browsers and operating systems but the issue is the same.

Going back to a link to your forums above — where someone else had issues with your custom audiences - even your FAQ links don’t work anymore…

That link alone has been clicked on 112 times, so there’s 100 people looking for help who can’t get it.

These are just two examples, of which I have found many, many more.

Show me my most recently promoted tweets

Every time I copy a campaign — which I do frequently — you do not copy over the tweets that I was targeting with that campaign. Meaning I have to go and find the tweets I want to promote again, which can take far more time than is necessary.

I don’t know what the reasons are for not copying a creative when copying a campaign but at the very least, it would be nice to have ‘all tweets in campaigns’ be the default option rather than promoted-only tweets.

It would only save a few seconds (copying creatives across would save a lot more) but when you run as many campaigns as I have it certainly speeds up the process a bit.

Let us delete campaigns

As far as I can see, there is no way to delete a campaign. It only ‘dies’ if you pause it or your funds become exhausted.

The reason I want to be able to delete campaigns is because I don’t want them to show up in my daily reporting when I’ve stopped them.

“Just use filters, that’s what they’re there for!” I know you’re saying at Twitter HQ.

The problem is, like custom audiences, half of the time they don’t work. They will say they are filtering out ‘paused’ campaigns, but paused campaigns are still showing on screen.

I can’t give you an exact way to replicate this as it seems fairly random, but it’s something you should look in to as I keep thinking a campaign is still running even when it isn’t.


I’ve never written anything on Medium before so I certainly don’t want my first post to make me look like some person who finds problems with everything.

I actually love Twitter and think your ad platform is a great alternative to Facebook, but there are some things I would love to see fixed going forward.


If you want to follow me on Twitter you can do so here, and if you want to follow my blog you can find it at gaps.com.

Thanks for reading!