March 21, 2013

Happy 7th Birthday, Twitter! Welcome to the World of Targeted Ads.


Today marks Twitter’s seventh birthday, and in honor of the occasion we’re dissecting the latest news from the Twittersphere: Twitter now offers targeted advertising tools for businesses.

In the past, some advertisers noted that they were unsure whether their Twitter ad messages were reaching the right consumers. In August, Twitter revealed their plans to implement a general form of targeted advertising by allowing advertisers to customize an audience based on users’ interests for promoted tweets and accounts. The new features, released on Monday, enable advertisers to reach their exact target audience and give them access to Twitter’s control panel for reporting, analytics and optimization.

Armed with these new tools, brands now have the ability to customize which consumers they target, giving advertisers the opportunity to redefine their marketing approach and access many more potential consumers. With these upgrades, Twitter’s ad targeting options now include:

1. Target by Interests and @usernames: Advertisers can now target @usernames to build an audience with similar interests to that particular @username’s followers, and there are 350 interest categories to pick from. (Twitter is very careful not to say that advertisers can specifically target a particular @username’s followers.)

2. Target by Device: Advertisers can tailor content to reach users on laptops, desktops, tablets or smartphones. Advertisers can also target the type of device, i.e. Apple, Android, Blackberry, etc.

3. Target by Gender: Advertisers can choose to target either male or female users.

It’s about time Twitter made the leap into targeted advertising. Advertisers are crucial to the success of nearly any online platform nowadays, so Twitter should be doing everything it can to keep their advertisers happy. These new features also prove that Twitter is building a long-term, successful and profitable future for their company.

Twitter’s move to targeted advertising follows in the steps of Facebook and LinkedIn, both of which have already incorporated these tools into their services.

Facebook has the most developed and customized options for targeted advertising, allowing targeting based on users’ profile information and what brands and topics users “Like.” Facebook recently took their targeted ad tools a step further with the addition of the “AdChoices” icon on display ads, which provides enhanced notice of behavioral targeting and allows users to opt-out. LinkedIn also provides targeted advertising options, allowing targeting based on location, skills, job title, company name or LinkedIn group level.

With Facebook, LinkedIn and now Twitter all offering advertisers the tools to target their ideal audience based on interests, demographics and personal data, online ads are only becoming more relevant to the customers they reach. Happy Birthday, Twitter, and may the coming year be your most profitable yet.

BIG fish PR is an unconventional agency that helps its clients redefine their industries.