Twitter goes Google with social keyword targeting for advertisers

Content is king in Twitter's new real-time targeting scheme for advertisers.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Twitter is now offering a Google-like keyword targeting service for advertisers, which will push Promoted Tweets into a user's timeline based on a selection of target words.

The new service makes content "a first-class citizen" in Twitter's Promoted Tweet advertising scheme, which previously only used content as one factor that shaped the "interest graph", the company said.

Twitter announced interest graph in 2010 as a key plank of its future offerings. The dynamic real-time graph is based on 'introductions' between people, content, URLs, organisations, trends, companies, lists, products and services.

Twitter claims the new keyword-targeting service will offer higher engagement because advertisers can have their Promoted Tweets injected into a target's timeline at the right moment and in the right context. 

"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."

Advertisers can refine their keyword targeting through elements including geographic location, device, and gender.

Twitter ran a trial of the service with several companies, including Microsoft Japan to promote the Surface tablet, and says it found users were more likely to engage with a Promoted Tweet using keyword targeting in timeline than other forms of targeting — for example, just targeting by device type. 

The keyword service will be available as part of Twitter's recently revamped Ads UI and its Ads API, announced in February.

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