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Advertisers Gain Interest-Based Targeting on Twitter

  |  August 30, 2012   |  Comments

Twitter now offers a new targeting option that includes more than 350 interests.

Twitter enhanced its paid products for advertisers today with a new targeting option that includes more than 350 interests. Brands can now target their Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts to specific subsets of users based on their interests.

While the auction mechanisms and bidding process remains, the new interest-based targeting parameters are now built into Twitter's dashboard for advertisers. Brands can also create custom interest segments by suggesting a specific user or company account that attracts the same audiences they are trying to reach.

Upon release of the new targeting feature, Twitter also reduced the minimum bid from 50 cents to one cent. The move brings Twitter's minimum advertising prices more in line with other ad platforms and "removes a potential source of friction," said Guy Yalif, head of product marketing at Twitter. "Brands now have the option to target that tweet just to specific audiences."

Through its own algorithms, Twitter extrapolates users' interests from their public tweets. That data is already being used to aggregate custom data for each user in the discover tab and to promote Twitter users that they might want to follow based on similar interests. But this is the first time Twitter has enabled advertisers to target specific users based on those interests.


At least 20 advertisers, including Bonobos and Walgreens, have been testing interest targeting on Twitter over the past few weeks, said Yalif. Bonobos recently held a 24-hour sale on Twitter with a series of Promoted Tweets that were sent to its followers and similar users, resulting in a 1 to 3 percent average engagement rate.

While those results mirror the average level of engagement Twitter is already achieving through Promoted Tweets, Yalif said he expects that number to fluctuate primarily based on the quality of content. "The audience ends up being very interested and larger," he said. "Here we're seeing significantly enhanced reach while the average engagement rate stays the same."

Kevin Weil, director of product management at Twitter, explained the evolving advertising platform model in a blog post: "Our Promoted Products are auction-based, where winners are determined by engagement rate and bids. Great content matters: if you have engaging Promoted Tweet copy, you can win even if others bid higher. We believe the new lower minimum bid, in combination with interest targeting, will drive greater ROI for every campaign on Twitter."

As more advertisers take advantage of interest targeting, it is the combined use of these new features that will be most powerful for marketers, Yalif said. "Vertical after vertical these interests allow you to align with that vertical and it also allows you to reach users at different stages of their life."



Matt Kapko

Matt Kapko has been writing about mobile since 2006, before it became cool. Based in Long Beach, CA, he has covered mobile entertainment, digital media, marketing, and advertising for several business media outlets. A former editor and reporter for RCR Wireless News, paidContent, and iMedia Connection, Matt is a regular freelance reporter for ClickZ. You can follow Matt on Twitter at @MattKapko or drop him a line at matt@kapko.co.

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