• Jennifer W.B.

How to sign up to run political ads on Twitter, and why you should do it now

If there's one constant in the world of social media, it's change. What's trending today may be forgotten tomorrow, leaving digital media professionals like us a small window of time to capitalize on a moment and to get our campaign's message out there.


Nothing slows down your campaign's momentum quite like having to wait a week for a letter to arrive in your mailbox — yes, your actual, physical mailbox — before you can launch a promoted tweet. Perhaps the only thing more cumbersome would be having to find a Notary Public first. This is exactly the position you'll find yourself in if you wait to get certified as a political campaigning advertiser on Twitter.


In May 2018, Twitter joined Facebook in cracking down on political advertising on their platform in an effort to increase transparency in the wake of Russian interference in the 2016 elections. This included the implementation of a certification process and the launch of Twitter's Ads Transparency Center, where users can view ads that have been served on Twitter.


While inconvenient, the ad account certification process is a small price to pay to protect the independence of our electoral system. As we gear up for the next round of elections, now is the time to make sure that you’re prepared to hit the ground running.


This post was last updated on Sept. 17, 2019, and explains the process as it existed on that date.


Who needs to get certified?

Any individual or organization who plans to run Twitter ads pertaining to either U.S. federal elections or issue advocacy must be certified.


This includes ads that advocate for or against a candidate or political party, appeal directly for votes, or solicit financial support for an election, referendum, or ballot measure, refer to an election or a candidate, or advocate for or against legislative issues of national importance.


Twitter provides climate change, healthcare, immigration, national security, and taxes as examples of "issues of national importance," with the stipulation that issues are not limited to these examples. If social media companies determining what issues qualify as such seems subjective and rife with contention, it indeed is. It's best to err on the side of caution and apply for certification even if the issues you intend to focus on are only politics-adjacent.


How to get certified

The following instructions are for U.S. advertisers. For information on the certification process for other countries and regions, please click here.


Step 1: Have a Twitter ads account associated with the @username that you plan to run ads from. If you do not already have one, you can create one here.


Step 2: Make sure the @username associated with ads account you wish to certify adheres to the following requirements:

  • Profile photo, header photo, and website must be consistent with the handle’s online presence

  • Bio must include a website that provides valid contact info

  • If handle name is not related to the certified entity, the bio must include the following disclaimer: "Owned by [certified entity name]".

Before a Twitter account will be certified as a political advertiser, it must meet certain transparency requirements.

Step 3: While logged into the @username account that you wish to certify, click through to Twitter's Ads Help Form to submit an application for certification. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select either "Issue Advertiser Certification (US Only)" or "Political Advertiser Certification" depending on which applies to the ads you'll be running.


Your application process will vary depending on which option you select and whether you are an individual or an organization:


Issue Advertiser Certification

After selecting "Issue Advertiser Certification (US Only)," you will be asked if you are an individual or an organization who wants to run issue ads.


If you are an organization, you will be asked to provide the following:

  • Organization name

  • Contact name and email of someone at the organization

  • Organization mailing address

  • Any existing Twitter @handle(s) that you will use for issue ads

  • A U.S. tax ID

If you are an individual, you will be asked to provide different materials, including:

  • A copy of your U.S. government-issued photo ID with address

  • Your first and last name

  • Your current mailing address

Once you enter the information above, click “Submit support ticket”. Once Twitter has received and approved your application, they'll send a letter to the address you provided to verify your location with further instructions. This letter may take up to a week to arrive.


Political Advertiser Certification

After selecting "Political Advertiser Certification," you'll be asked to select the country or region you are targeting. Once you select "United States" you will be asked whether you are a committee or candidate registered with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), an organization not registered with the FEC, or an individual.


If you are a FEC-registered committee or candidate, you will be asked to provide the following:

  • Organization or candidate name

  • Contact name and email. This person must be able to receive physical mail.

  • Mailing address that matches FEC records

  • FEC ID

  • Agencies using Twitter's multi-user login must also provide their client's @username

Organizations not registered with the FEC must take additional steps:

  1. Download and complete this form, which asks for your name, email address, U.S. Passport number, the legal name of your entity or organization and its business address. You are then required to attach a copy of your U.S. Passport and have the form notarized. Here is information on where you can find a qualified Notary Public.

  2. Upload the completed form and enter the following information:

  • Organization or candidate name

  • Contact name and email. This person must be able to receive physical mail.

  • Mailing address

  • Agencies using Twitter's multi-user login must also provide their client's @username


If you are an individual, you will be asked to provide the following:

  1. Download and complete this form, which asks for your name, email, mailing address, and U.S. Passport number. You are then required to attach a copy of your U.S. Passport and have the form notarized. Here is information on where you can find a qualified Notary Public.

  2. Upload the completed form, as well as a copy of your U.S. government-issued photo ID with address.

  3. Enter the following information:

  • Your first and last name

  • Your mailing address. This must match the address on your government ID.

  • Agencies using Twitter's multi-user login must also provide their client's @username.

Once you enter the information above, click "Submit support ticket."


Once Twitter has received and approved your application, they'll send a letter to the address you provided to verify your location with further instructions. This letter may take up to a week to arrive.


Step 4: Wait for Twitter to mail you a letter to the address you provided (it took six days for us to receive our most recent confirmation letter from Twitter). Once it arrives, follow the instructions in the letter to complete your certification. Afterwards, you will have a new dedicated ads account for you to promote political campaigning and issue advocacy content. It is important that you do not rename or delete the certified account as doing so will require you to get certified all over again. If you wish to run political or issue content from different @usernames, you must go through another certification process.


Step 5: Start running ads. When you run an ad campaign from your new certified account, you will be asked to fill out a "paid for by" disclaimer. Disclaimers, according to Twitter, "must not be misleading" and are required to match information on your certification application. All promoted tweets run through your certified ad account will include a "Promoted (political)" or "Promoted (issue)" badge, disclaimer information, and display in the Ads Transparency Center.


Here's an example of how a tweet will display with a "Promoted (political)" badge.

Don't know where to start? Or perhaps you want to optimize your ad strategy to ensure you're making the most of your hard-earned political ad certification. We’re here to help. Schedule a call with the ACM Strategies team today to learn how we can help transform your big ideas into a winning digital strategy that achieves your goals.

Get Updates from ACM Strategies
  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle
  • LinkedIn - White Circle
© 2020 ACM STRATEGIES, LLC