Twitter expands ad targeting, using emails and user IDs

Companies can target users by matching existing email accounts, or information on their profiles

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
January 14, 2014
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Twitter is a company that makes almost all of its money through advertising. That basically makes its users, and all of their activity, the company's main product. And that means that what those users do both on, and off, Twitter has to be fair game.

Last month, the company rolled out its "tailored audiences" product, using browser based cookies to retarget ads on the network. And now those brands have been given even more ways to send out targeted ads to Twitter users.

"In December we announced the global availability of tailored audiences, giving advertisers the ability to reach visitors to their websites directly on Twitter," the company wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. "Today, we’re releasing new ways to create tailored audiences, so that advertisers can define groups of existing and potential customers more flexibly and connect with them on Twitter."

What that means is that brands can now find out who to send ads to on Twitter by using the user's email address and Twitter ID.

One way that that companies will now be able to use their own customer relationship management (CRM) databases to find out who is on Twitter. 

"You can now create tailored audiences from lists of email addresses from your own customer relationship management (CRM) database or you can use your CRM database records that you have previously stored with an ad partner," Twitter explained.

Here's how it works: if a retailer wants to put up an ad that they are having a sale, and only want to target people who already have a membership, the retailer has the ability to share the e-mail addresses of its members with Twitter.

"We can then match that information to Twitter accounts in order to show the matched users a Promoted Tweet with the sale information."

Let's say, though, that the same retailer wants to target new customers. It can do that  by accessing any public information that users have put up about themselves on Twitter, including their bio, follower count, verified status, or past Tweets. This information is accessed either from Twitter or by using Twitter’s API or Certified Products.

"The retailer may then use this list of Twitter ID’s to create a tailored audience through an ads partner, show those fashion influencers a Promoted Account and engage them as followers."

Not only that, but the companies have so much control that they also have the ability to exclude certain people now, either by their interests or keywords.

And, as always, Twitter users have the option to not allow any of their information to be shared.

Twitter's ad partners for the product: Acxiom, Datalogix, Epsilon, Liveramp, Mailchimp, Merkle, and Salesforce ExactTarget for CRM.

Twitter has a good reason to expand its ad products.

In the third quarter, advertising counted for $153.4 million. Out of $168.6 million. That is an astounding 91% of revenue.

And that number is rising quickly. In the second quarter of the year it had roughly $121 million from advertising, for an increase of around 27%

Twitter has three types of ads that it makes money from: Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts and Promoted Trends. Over 70% of its advertising revenue in the quarter came from mobile.

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