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The implications of Twitter's new targeting

The implications of Twitter's new targeting Chris Marentis

As Google, Facebook, and now Twitter take advantage of their users' generated content and posts, signal- or intent-based targeting is helping marketers reach customers at the precise moment they need a product or service. User intent to purchase can now be determined based on a variety of signals including keywords typed in status updates, search boxes, or tweets.

Twitter's move to enhance its ads with keyword-targeting capabilities is a bigger effort to improve relevancy of ads, attract more brand advertisers, and increase ad revenue. Users have already been retargeted with ads based on websites they've visited, and now they will be served with ads based on what they tweet. This is a big breakthrough and opportunity for marketers, as Twitter reaches 400 million monthly visitors and more than 200 million monthly active users globally.

With increased context and relevancy, businesses can now reach Twitter users at crucial decision or needs moments, as they are posting about particular items or interests based on keywords found in tweets. Previously, Twitter's ability to target was limited to hashtags, gender, location, and handles.

Targeted keywords are triggered by signals of intent

Piggybacking on the overarching trend of targeting users based on their intent, Twitter's keyword targeted ads have the ability to recognize a user's needs and deliver relevant ads. For example, if a user tweets about energy efficient windows, and a window dealer is running a special on energy efficient windows in the same geographic area, that window dealer could run a targeted campaign on Twitter that includes a direct link so the user can get more information about the window special and contact details. The original tweeter would see a Promoted Tweet on his or her timeline that gives the person the opportunity to click on the link for further detail.

Twitter ads more relevant

Will ads clutter Twitter's simplicity? The consensus from Twitter insiders is that the launch of targeted keywords for ads will not cause users to be overloaded with ads. In fact, users should not notice any difference in the way they use Twitter. The targeted keywords for ads will not show ads more frequently. The ads will simply be more appropriate or relevant for tweeters. Users will also still have the ability to dismiss irrelevant Promoted Tweets.

In reality, it is likely that the Twitter user experience with Promoted Tweets will improve, because the ads seen by users will be pertinent to the topics they are discussing. Twitter has performed several beta tests before launching the targeted keywords to the masses. In all the tests, users were more likely to respond to Promoted Tweets when they were relevant to what was on their mind, or "on their tweets."

Tracking leads from Twitter ads

While there is a lot to be said about Twitter's ability to reach users on a granular level, Twitter ads might not be for every business. It is critical to test ads and track traffic to determine if ads are delivering for an organization. If a company's website handles transactions online, it should track the number of customers from Twitter ads who complete a purchase to determine if its ads are successful.

For example, if a company decides to promote a new product through a Twitter ad, it should make note of the date the ad goes live and compare the success rate to the number of people who came to that landing page on the company's site on an average day. If the number of viewers increases, a direct connection can be made between purchases and referral traffic from Twitter ads.

Twitter's move to more precise geo-targeted campaigns is a reflection of a broader change in marketing. Targeting specific demographics based on social profile posts and search behavior is opening the door for marketers to solve consumers' pain points or help address their needs. Keyword targeting among social media channels is extremely powerful, as advertisers can now reach more potential customers at the time they are looking for a particular product or service. Twitter -- along with Google, Facebook, and others -- will continue to refine their offerings and bring advertisers additional ad targeting benefits. As long as these refinements do not negatively impact user experience, the rewards will be exponential.

Chris Marentis is CEO of Surefire Social.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

"Illustration of Blue Bird Using Laptop on the desk" image via Shutterstock.

For nearly three decades, Chris Marentis, Founder and CEO of Surefire Social, has been responsible for driving innovation and sales growth for large media and e-commerce brands as well as start-ups. With a long-history of counseling local businesses...

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