There are a lot of restrictions on Twitter ads, and there are a lot of reasons you might not be able to use them. Rather than cover all of them, however, I’m looking at a specific error message you might encounter when you try to use ads. This message is “Your account is ineligible to participate in the Twitter Ads program.” If you’re trying to visit ads.twitter.com and you’re getting this message, I’ll try to help you find out why.
It’s honestly a very frustrating error to encounter, because Twitter doesn’t really have a process in place to help users figure out why. Often times, if you’ve encountered the error, you’ll find that the instructions link is broken, or that support tells you to click the help button when no such button exists. Rather than struggle with their support, review this post and see what you can find.
Twitter’s Official Eligibility Restrictions
Twitter publishes their ad restrictions, which I’ll summarize here. If you’re encountering one of these restrictions, you may be able to circumvent them in some way or another.
The first major category of restrictions is country and language of origin. Twitter is striving to be a global platform, but there are some countries that are not allowed to advertise. Some of them are due to governmental interference with the country in question, while others are due to the fact that Twitter is based in the USA. For example, China has strict restrictions on how their Internet can be used – the so-called Great Firewall, among other things – so China is not eligible. Likewise, the USA imposes some sanctions on Iran, making Iran not an eligible country. As Twitter says on their official page, “Twitter prohibits advertisements targeted to, and advertiser accounts from countries subject to US trade sanctions and other US export control laws. Individuals and entities subject to US trade sanctions are also prohibited from signing up for a Twitter Ads account.”
The full list of ineligible countries, as of this writing, is: Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bouvet Island, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, French Polynesia, Ghana, Iran, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Mauritius, Micronesia, Morocco, Myanmar, North Korea, Oman, Puerto Rico, Russia, Saint Martin, Sint Maarten, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan, Tunisia, and Vietnam.
If you reside in one of these countries, you won’t be able to use Twitter ads. You may be able to circumvent this by working through a proxy in an eligible country, but you will also need to filter all of your payment methods and contact information, and you may still be unable to participate if you’re caught doing so.
As far as languages are concerned, Twitter only allows advertising in certain approved languages. I assume this is for ease of moderation and review of ad content, as they probably don’t have staff capable of translating hundreds of languages. The approved language list is Afrikaans, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, German, Hebrew, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Danish, Bahasa, and Brazilian Portuguese.
This is an easier adjustment to make; simply run your advertising in an approved language. You may need to set the language of your profile to an approved language as well. Of course, if you’re trying to advertise to a group of people who don’t speak an approved language, you won’t be able to reach them, making Twitter ads not very valuable to you in the first place. That’s your choice to make, based on your situation.
In addition to location and language, there are a few other eligibility requirements, some of which are more flexible than others.
The first is Account Status. There are three account status afflictions that can prevent you from using Twitter Ads. Obviously, deactivated accounts can’t use ads, because the account may as well not exist. Likewise, suspended accounts can’t use ads because Twitter has suspended them for some reason. Deactivated accounts can be reactivated if you’re the owner, that’s simple. Suspended accounts may be reactivated if the owner proves that they have ceased whatever behavior got them deactivated in the first place, though it’s somewhat rare.
If your account has protected tweets, you won’t be able to use the ads system either.
Protecting your tweets means hiding them from the public, so that only followers can see them.
This is good for privacy, but ads are the opposite of privacy. It makes no sense to create a tweet and promote it if no one but your followers can see it. Thankfully, this is also an easy fix; just make your account public again.
Twitter also has a catch-all “account activity” section in their eligibility requirements. This is frustratingly non-specific and is basically designed for Twitter to use as discretionary rationale for blocking you from Twitter Ads. It’s difficult to say what comprises valid activity versus what doesn’t, but there are a few guidelines we can extrapolate from past experiences.
- Your account must be at least 15 days old, if not older, before it can be eligible for Twitter ads. This is to prevent mass spam and abuse of the system. During those 15 days, the account must be at least minimally active, tweeting, retweeting, replying, liking, and generally engaging with people on the site.
- Your account cannot be caught in a malicious activity. Any of the numerous activities Twitter deems inappropriate can flag your account for removal from the ads program eligibility list, or suspend your account entirely. These include but are not limited to follower churn, spam, DM abuse, and hate speech.
- Your account payment information and contact information needs to be in good standing. If there’s an issue with your address, like using a PO box instead of a real address, you may not be eligible for ads. They will also prevent you from using ads if there’s an issue with your payment method, like a dispute over your credit card.
Some people also report that they have needed a minimum number of followers before they are able to use Twitter ads. I haven’t confirmed this myself, but it’s entirely possible that there’s a small minimum threshold. It’s also possible that it was an artifact of time passing, and the users reporting growth as the trigger were simply coincidental about it. This user specifically says reaching 100+ followers was his trigger, but I have a test account with only 36 followers that has access to ads. I would venture to say it’s “more than zero real followers” more than a minimum threshold.
Twitter also has guidelines for your profile if you’re going to use Twitter Ads, since you become a sort of representation of what they allow on their site. They require you to have a clear Twitter username that represents you. They require that you have a profile picture that contains you, your product, or your brand, not something irrelevant. No animated images, nudity, banned products, or profanity are allowed. Your header photo is the same. They also want you to have a valid location and website link for your brand, a bio that actually contains informative insight rather than nonsense, and valid verification information like a phone number. The only reason I put all of this at the end, though, is because it’s likely going to trigger a different error message than the ineligibility message above.
Fixing the Problem
I would say that the number one cause of ineligibility for Twitter Ads is simply using an account that’s too new. I often find brands creating new accounts looking to follow a guide to advertise, only to find that they’re ineligible. They then go on a crusade, calling support or their ad manager or posting on forums, blog article comment sections, and Quora looking for help.
Nine times out of ten, I would say that all you need to do is wait a couple weeks while using your Twitter account naturally, and ads will become eligible. Check back every few days, and don’t be surprised if you still don’t have them. I’ve seen some people take up to a month, while others with support from an active community on Facebook or on their blog are able to grow and reach that point in just a couple of weeks.
If you’re trying to use a Twitter account that is older and has been active recently, it’s probably not going to be an issue with your activity or the age of your account, obviously enough. I would guess that you know whether or not you’re trying to use a language or an account in a country that is ineligible, so I’m going to skip over that.
The next most common cause is protected tweets. If your tweets are protected or your account is disabled for whatever reasons, find the appropriate setting to change to fix it. You can unprotect your tweets by going into your settings and unchecking the box in the privacy and safety section. You can reactivate your account in a similar way, by clicking the link in the bottom of the main settings menu.
If your account is active, visible to the public, in an eligible country and language, and old enough to be considered, there’s really only one thing it could be; something against the Twitter ad policies that is preventing you from gaining access. Likely this can be resolved with a change in either content or behavior, but there’s a lot to consider.
Anything that can get your Twitter account suspended will get you blocked from the ads system. This include exploitative practices that gain you followers, like the follow/unfollow technique. It includes spamming, both via tweets and direct messages. It included impersonating a real brand or person with intent to deceive – parody accounts are generally fine – and other sorts of bad faith actions.
There are a ton of guidelines on actual ads usage, and a lot of them can apply to organic tweets as well. Twitter doesn’t like it when you tweet about adult products, drugs, hate and violence, illegal products, weapons, and so forth. Twitter won’t censor you, though they may suspend you for particularly egregious violations of the code of conduct. They might, however, quietly make you ineligible for Twitter ads if they believe that your account is likely to make ads to something objectionable. I don’t have verification that this happens, but it wouldn’t surprise me.
If you suspect that your account has been quietly flagged in this manner, the first thing I would recommend is cleaning up your act. You don’t have to put on the mask of a liberal hippie or something if that’s not your brand, but you should avoid overt racism, promotion of illegal content, and other things that can actually get Twitter in trouble. If it’s impossible to scrub your Twitter account of that kind of content, it might be better to simply delete your entire archive and start over with your audience. Alternatively, create a new account to use for ads, use it cleanly and organically for a few weeks until you’ve grown enough and aged enough to become eligible, and go from there.
At the end of the day, it’s not generally a mystery why your account isn’t eligible for ads. Most of the time, as I said, it’s simply issues with the account being too new. Fairly rarely will you encounter being disabled from ads even though you’re eligible and active on Twitter otherwise.
Sometimes, though, your lack of eligibility is legitimately a glitch. In this case, you should contact support. You can send a message to @support, you can file a ticket in their help system, or you can even call them. In any case, you should get in touch with someone and they are generally happy to help.