Twitter Adds More Keyword Targeting Options And Trending Topic Matching For ‘Promoted Tweets’

Lots of bold moves coming out of Twitter before the holiday vacation. The latest, and most subtle, is the offering of more granular search terms for advertisers to promote tweets against in its “Promoted Tweets” product. As of today, Twitter will now let Promoted Tweets customers match their tweets to Twitter searches via exact match, phrase match, and basic keyword matching.

More importantly for customers, people promoting tweets will now have the ability to use something called “negative keywords,” i.e. pick the words they don’t want to advertise against. This solves a huge relevancy problem as far as ads on user-generated content are concerned. For example, I would probably guess that advertisers would start with something like “all of the curse words” as negative keywords.

“For instance, if you sell bacon, you can now keep your campaigns more than six degrees apart from Kevin Bacon by using ‘Kevin’ as a negative keyword,” the Twitter blog explained in its characteristically humorous fashion.

The company is also offering automatic import of preexisting search keywords and a novel feature that automatically matches your Promoted Tweets to trending hashtags. “For example, if a celebrity’s pregnancy news starts trending, and you’re a retailer of baby clothing, your Promoted Tweet may be entered into the auction for that trending search.” So many ways hilarity could ensue here.

With the exception of hashtag matching, Twitter is basically catching up with what’s been standard in ad tech with these developments. Google, which wrote the book on search-based advertising, provides even more options to marketers with AdWords — and they, too, call it “keyword matching.”

Also like AdWords, Promoted Tweets operate on a real-time auction model. Advertisers enter a bid for the maximum amount they’d pay per Twitter engagement — an @Reply, Retweet or Favorite — and wait until that bid is accepted. The less engaging your tweets are, the more you have to pay, Twitter’s Jim Prosser tells me. Cost also depends on factors, such as the popularity of a given search term, because popular search terms tend to attract more auction participants, making the auction more competitive.

This operates differently than Twitter’s Promoted Trends, which are a fixed fee (between $70K – $100K, according to reports) and limited to once a day.

“It’s challenging as a marketer to keep on top of what is trending. We’re aiming to take some of the work out of it,” Prosser said. As a testament to the program’s efficacy, even Google itself partook, advertising a Promoted Tweet about its Google Maps app on (ostensibly its competitor) Twitter. If that’s not a vote of confidence, I don’t know what is.