Twitter Enables Advertisers to Target Website Visitors via Tags

  |  June 12, 2014   |  Comments

Twitter’s website tags are simple to use and provide more choice, flexibility, and reach in remarketing, but experts note broad-reach display advertising can have its drawbacks.

Twitter has launched website tags for remarketing, a feature that it claims will make it easy for advertisers to create tailored audiences from the Twitter Ads user interface.

As of June 11, advertisers that have already created tags for conversion tracking can use those tags for website remarketing, Twitter says.

Once a brand has placed a website tag, or a snippet of code, Twitter says it can match users who have visited the brand's website to Twitter accounts using a browser cookie ID. This, in turn, lets the brand show matched users promoted tweets and promoted accounts, which results in "a relevant, high-quality message to users."

According to John Lee, managing partner at Clix Marketing, a marketing agency specializing in pay-per-click (PPC), display, and social media advertising, Twitter's tagging installation is modeled after Google's tagging system, which means it is simple to tag one or multiple pages. Twitter has also made it seamless to connect website audiences with promoted tweet campaigns, he notes.

Beta users include 1800Flowers.com, which used the tag in its Mother's Day campaign, targeting users with promoted tweets containing a website card and achieving a cost per acquisition lower than its performance goal. Apparel retailer Betabrand is another user, which Twitter says used it to drive a 63 percent decrease in cost per acquisition.

As with other tailored audience features, Twitter says advertisers will continue to see performance data that shows how many users saw or clicked on an ad, without identifying who saw it or clicked on it.

"The same Twitter ad management principles apply, but in my experience the impression and click volume has been lower than what I see in FBX, Facebook website audiences, or other remarketing," Lee says. "This isn't a negative indication of Twitter's remarketing utility, more so the actual usage and visitors on Twitter."

For his part, Andrew Goodman, president of PPC agency Page Zero Media, says Twitter has worked relentlessly since its IPO to optimize its monetization options to create an increasingly intuitive fit for advertisers.

"This capability of using Twitter-specific website tags gives us a bit more choice and flexibility in our remarketing strategies, and of course, more reach," Goodman says.

Noting there are pros and cons of some existing remarketing products targeted at various display networks and exchanges, which also applies to Google AdWords remarketing to a degree, Goodman says, "On the plus side, you gain wide reach, but the black box nature of broad-reach display advertising, and the difficulty of gauging tone and consumer response, can be a drawback.

"Advertisers, if they had their choice, would often want very specific channel control as opposed to run-of-network black box placement. With Twitter, what you see is what you get: the opportunity to tailor advertising to your previous website visitors on what is, for many of us, our favorite social media venue."

Supporting partners like Adroll will make it easier for advertisers who already have relationships with those platforms, Goodman adds. And, he notes, remarketing ads are "low funnel," so they will return positive return on investment (ROI) for a lot of advertisers.

Twitter says users can uncheck the box next to "Promoted content" in their privacy settings and it will not match their account to information shared by advertisers for tailoring ads. The social network does not receive browser-related information for tailoring ads if users have Do Not Track enabled. In addition, to avoid overly specific targeting, Twitter says it has a minimum audience size for all tailored audiences.

Goodman doubts the new ad placements will turn off Twitter users because the platform has this range of opt-outs for users, so "they've clearly planned ahead to throw off any major concerns about intrusion and privacy."

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Lisa Lacy

In addition to ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, Lisa's work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.

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