Twitter Expands Ad Program With Interest Targeting And 1 Cent Minimum Bids

Twitter is announcing a new way for businesses to target their Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts, according to a new blog post from Product Management Director Kevin Weil. By directing their messages at specific user interests, advertisers can now potentially reach a much broader audience.

Actually, interest data already plays a role in Twitter advertising. Weil writes that Promoted Tweets and Accounts currently target “users who share interests with your current followers.” With today’s launch however, advertisers can explicitly identify the interests that they want to reach. There are currently more than 350 categories to choose from, such as education, home and garden, and animation. Or, instead of targeting a category, advertisers can identify a specific Twitter account, then Twitter will show the promoted content to users who have similar interests to that account’s followers.

This means that advertisers are no longer limited to reaching one specific subset of users, and can instead direct their ads at whichever audience segment they want. They can also customize their marketing messages to different types of users based on their interests. And if advertisers base their targeting on a specific account, they could replicate the common search advertising strategy of going after their competitor’s customers. (Though it’s not quite the same, because advertisers can’t “specifically target the followers of that @​username,” just users who have similar interests to those followers.)

Twitter has been talking about using its interest data to improve advertising since at least earlier this year. A company spokesperson gave me a little more context about how that interest data is gathered:

We look at a variety of signals, including but not limited to the follow graph and Tweets you engage with, to understand your interests. This is the case across the product. For example, we consider your interests to determine which content to show in Discover or which accounts to recommend in Who to Follow.

In addition to interest targeting, Twitter is also announcing a change to the auctions that determine which promoted content gets shown. The minimum bid in those auctions has been reduced from 50 cents to 1 cent. Lowering the cost will presumably make these programs more accessible to small businesses and allow existing advertisers to run more campaigns, but Weil writes that it’s not just about making things cheaper:

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.