Twitter wants brands to be able to target their ads effectively, otherwise why would you spend money to spray and pray your message to every single person on the network? Since the micro networking site can trap a lot of information about you based on who you follow and what types of posts you interact with, it only makes sense that these would become targeting options for advertising purposes.
Today, the company announced a few new ways that its self-serve advertisers can target users to advertise to, two new ways based off of interests and by device. For example, if you are promoting a new iOS app, you’ll be able to target iOS users only, rather than hitting up Android users who won’t care or click. Up until now, only big brands could do things like this.
In addition to the targeting options, Twitter has opened up its advanced campaign tools to all US advertisers:
For interests, Twitter now lets advertisers choose any account to base its targeting on. The example that Twitter gives is if you’re a golf shop, you might want to target users with the same interests as those who follow say, Tiger Woods. This gives brands a whole new “social graph” to scrape for potential clickers and buyers. It makes a lot of sense, actually.
The only flaw with this approach is that you have no idea why someone followed Tiger Woods in the first place, as it may have nothing to do with golf. Having said that, this is a logical starting point. In addition to starting with the interest graph of followers of any account, you can choose from 350 interest categories that will line up with a subset of users. Again, this isn’t perfect, but it’s a good starting place. All of this targeting allows better-tailored messages so that there’s a better shot of actual success.
The device targeting is quite brilliant, since this is data which Twitter can easily collect. Where this will be really handy is when advertisers are setting up landing pages and will now have an easy way to make sure that the right devices are seeing the right pages, without having to worry about sniffing out what user agent people’s devices are throwing back. Want to show off more colors to an iOS user? Go a bit more boring with BlackBerry users? Now you can:
Tie this to the fact that you can now target ads to men or women, which Twitter says it figures out using “public user signals,” and Twitter’s advertising platform is shaping up to be pretty attractive to brands. Simply being on Twitter isn’t enough anymore, knowing who you’re talking to and advertising to is where it’s at. Facebook had to shape its advertising offering up quite a bit before it went public, and it looks like Twitter is doing the same thing.
Does all of this targeting sound creepy? Too bad, that’s what happens when you use free services. I’d rather see ads that have something to do with what I’m interested in, personally.
[Photo credit: Flickr]