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Twitter improves advertising targeting options

By Dave Chaffey 03 Sep, 2012
Twitter Marketing

Interest targeting enables targeting by 350 interest categories and @usernames


Recommended link: Twitter advertising blog

The Twitter advertising blog has announced an improvement to targeting of its Promoted Tweets advertising which takes it closer to Facebook’s targeting options. Dubbed “interest targeting”, there are two options for targeting:

1. Targeting by 350 interest categories

Broad categories of interest can be targeted using selection from these categories:

2. Targeting by @username

Although the category-based targeting was most widely covered, more intriguing is the targeting by @username. This looks more useful for micro-targeting since you can create a custom segment based on related brands and celebrities. It’s similar to the Facebook feature to target ads according to the Likes of users. Note though, that this does not enable you to target specific users. Twitter explains:

“Custom segments let you reach users with similar interests to that @​username’s followers; they do not let you specifically target the followers of that @​username. If you’re promoting your indie band’s next tour, you can create a custom audience by adding @​usernames of related bands, thus targeting users with the same taste in music”.

Is Twitter now a viable advertising platform for smaller businesses?

This improved targeting is a significant move since it now makes Twitter more suited for small business advertising rather than mass reach advertising.

The announcement in the same post that Twitter was also lowering the minimum bid to one cent for auctions also helps here.

Although it’s a couple of years behind Facebook in this respect, Twitter now has a growing series of case studies and guides to help advertisers. These are great for campaign inspiration, for example, this company ran Twixlusive,” a 24-hour sale, exclusively on Twitter.

Twitter ad example

David Fudge, Bonobos’ Head of Social Media explains how he sees the value of Twitter advertising:

“On short notice, we can launch campaigns on Twitter with minimal effort and low costs compared to traditional media channels. Twitter gives us quick access to an engaged audience and drives them directly to our website for purchase — this includes our existing followers and with Twitter’s targeting capabilities, relevant non-followers as well.”

However, to start advertising with Twitter still requires an approval process through an account manager rather than the self-service approach available to small businesses on Facebook and Google AdWords.

If you haven’t seen it, I recommend take a look at the Twitter for small business guide which includes UK examples, both of how to use Twitter for day-to-day marketing and the advertising options.

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of marketing publisher and learning platform Smart Insights. Dave is editor of the 100+ templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ digital marketing experts. Our resources are used by our Premium members in more than 100 countries to Plan, Manage and Optimize their digital marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is a keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. To learn about my books, see my personal site Digital marketing books by Dr. Dave Chaffey. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.

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