Twitter has been recently been taking steps to build up its advertising revenue by launching a new API and introducing new Twitter cards to embed links to apps, products and photo galleries. And so far it seems to have been successful, as market researcher eMarketer is projecting Twitter to grow revenue by 63% to nearly $1 billion in advertising sales by 2014.
Now Twitter has introduced a new tool for advertisers what could make that number go even higher: keyword targeting, which will allow advertisers to sell ads to users based on words in their tweets. The company announced the new feature in a blogpost Wednesday.
"Advertising on Twitter works well because the experience is built into the fabric of the product: a Promoted Tweet, for instance, is simply a Tweet targeted using the interest graph formed from public user signals like follows," Nipoon Malhotra, Product Manager of Revenue at Twitter, wrote.
"Until today, the content of Tweets has only been one factor among many in shaping the interest graph. 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."
So what will this look like exactly? The example that Twitter gives is if a user tweets that they like a certain band, and wants to go see them at a specific venue. That venue could then run a geo-targeted 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," Malhotra said.
This is what advertisers will use to run these keyword campaigns:
For users, nothing will change, Twitter insists. They won't be getting more ads than they were before, and they can still dismissed Promoted Tweets if they want to.
"In fact, we believe users’ experiences with ads will improve as a result of this feature as they see more relevant Promoted Tweets," said Malhotra, noting that in test with advertisers and agencies, including Everything Everywhere, Microsoft Japan, and Walgreens, "users were significantly more likely to engage with Promoted Tweets using keyword targeting in timeline than other forms of targeting in the timeline."
Twitter's monetization strategy
Earlier this month, Twitter introduced new Twitter cards to incentivize businesses and advertisers to showcase their content on Twitter, which they hope will lead to further monetization. The social network also launched a redesigned resource for businesses to learn how to user Twitter, including marketing tips, glossary, and ideas on how to promote on Twitter.
Last month, Twitter launched a new API that is designed make it easier for brands to manage campaigns and get more value out of advertising on Twitter, by allowing them to integrate with its ads platform through a list of API partners that will supply them with better targeting and tools. The first five of these partners were HootSuite, Adobe, Saleforce, SHIFT and TBG Digital.
The point of the API, Twitter said at the time, is not to create more advertising, but to make advertising on the network better overall.