Twitter may have gotten significantly more useful for businesses this week with the launch of keyword targeting for its ad platform. The company began rolling out the feature on Wednesday in all languages and markets where Twitter ads are supported.
Do you think the new targeting capability makes Twitter more valuable for businesses? Let us know in the comments.
With keyword targeting, advertisers can reach users based on words in their recent tweets and in tweets with which they've recently engaged.
"This is an important new capability – especially for those advertisers looking for signals of intent – because it lets marketers reach users at the right moment, in the right context," says Twitter Revenue product manager Nipoon Malhotra. "For example: let’s say a user tweets about enjoying the latest album from their favorite band, and it so happens that band is due to play a concert at a local venue. That venue could now run a geotargeted campaign using keywords for that band with a Tweet containing a link to buy the tickets. That way, the user who tweeted about the new album may soon see that Promoted Tweet in their timeline letting them know tickets are for sale in their area."
According to Twitter, users are more likely to engage with promoted tweets that take advantage of keyword targeting. The company ran tests with clients like GoPro, Everything Everywhere, Microsoft Japan and Walgreens, and found this to be the case.
"After testing keyword targeting in timeline across four marketing campaigns, GoPro saw close to two million impressions, and engagement rates as high as 11 percent on Tweets promoted using the new feature," says Malhotra.
Twitter's new offering has been drawing comparisons to search advertising. Peter Kafka at All Things D says it's Twitter making its ad pitch "more Googley". Ingrid Lunden at TechCrunch also compares it to search.
In fact, even Malhotra plays the search card, saying, "Setting up a campaign to target keywords in the timeline is very similar to the setup process for search. Enter the keywords you want to target, choose whether you want to use phrase match or unordered keyword match, and specify your other targeting options such as geographic location, device and gender."
As Kafka notes, however, some have been quick to point out that it's not exactly like search in that the intent expressed in a tweet is hardly reflective of the intent of a search. Essentially, when you're searching, you're looking for something. When you're tweeting, you're simply saying something. Occasionally, that might be a signal of something you're interested in buying, but how often?
The set-up process is about as easy as it could possibly be. You simply go to Twitter's Advertisers page, log in, and follow the steps. Tell Twitter who you want to target, what you want to promote, how much you want to spend, and how you want to pay. That's pretty much it.
Some are still skeptical about how effective the new feature will make Twitter for advertisers, but it certainly can't hurt. The functionality is available in the full Twitter Ads user interface as well as through the Ads API.
What do you think? Does this make Twitter a better place to advertise? Share your thoughts in the comments.