Advertisers Get Okay From Twitter To Target Tweeted Keywords
April 17, 2013

Advertisers Get Okay From Twitter To Target Tweeted Keywords

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Have you, like many others, had a run in with a Twitter bot after a random and one-off Tweet? Though there are thousands of varieties, these Twitter Bots are programmed to follow, respond to or retweet any 140-character post which contains a certain word or hashtag. For instance, a Tweet about C3PO might earn you a mention from @ObnoxiousBot.

Today, Twitter has announced that they´ll be giving this same keyword search and respond capabilities to advertisers. In an example used by Twitter in their Advertising blog, a user who Tweets about enjoying their favorite band´s new album could see a geotargeted promotional Tweet from a bar owner to let them know that particular band is slated to perform there next weekend. At it´s best it sounds like a handy feature. At worst, Twitter has given advertisers the ability to see your Tweets and craft their ads accordingly.

“Until today, the content of Tweets has only been one factor among many in shaping the interest graph,” reads today´s blog post announcing the new feature. “Today, it becomes a first-class citizen. We're excited to roll out the newest feature on our ad platform, keyword targeting in timelines, available today in all languages and markets where Twitter Ads are supported.”

Twitter claims users won´t notice any change to their timelines. There won´t suddenly be a rush of promotional tweets to match everything a user has tweeted. Users will still be allowed to “dismiss” promoted Tweets which they don´t find relevant. In their testing, Twitter allowed a few companies like Microsoft Japan and Walgreens to target ads based on keywords and location. They claim users were much more likely to interact with these test promotional Tweets over the regular Twitter ads.

The new feature is a bit more sophisticated than a simple “keyword+location=ad” sort of way. According to Twitter ad executive Kevin Weil, "advertisers will be able to scour the rest of the Tweet for negative sentiment,” thereby ensuring that a Tweet which reads “Firestone Tire Company just ripped off my elderly Father!!!” won´t trigger the system and return a “Stop by next Tuesday for Senior Citizen Appreciation Day!”

As Peter Kafka of All Things D points out, this sort of search functionality is part of what makes Google Google. Advertisers are able to target the “intent” of a user. For instance, a user who Googles “Guitar Strings in Georgia” could expect to see an ad for Guitar Center in their very near future. Guitar Center claims the user clearly had intent to buy strings and they sell strings. It´s a match made in heaven.

Without the ability to market with intent to a core group of people, Promotional Tweets become so much less effective than they could be. This is important for the company who is still looking for ways to effectively monetize their brand. This could also come in handy when and if Twitter ever has their day in the Wall Street spotlight with their very own IPO.

Twitter thinks this could be a big boon for them. During their tests, they allowed GoPro, the wearable, mountable camera makers to try these geotargeted Promotional Tweets. According to Twitter, GoPro saw engagement rates as high as 11 percent on a Promotional Tweet which reached 2 million users. In other words, more than 200 thousand people retweeted, responded or even favorited GoPro´s new targeted Tweet.