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Twitter’s new ad API has been updated to incorporate what many social experts are calling ‘game changing’ capabilities. Could this improvement signify the beginning of the social network’s foray into real-time targeted advertising akin to that enjoyed only by the likes of Google?

If you’re a regular Twitter user you’ll have come across a few promoted tweets before. If you’re a brand, you’ll no doubt have used Twitter’s ad platform to try and extend the reach of your tweets and encourage fellow Twitter users to follow you or click through to site. Either way, Twitter’s update to the algorithm it uses is about to change the way users consume, and marketers use promoted tweets.

The update brings targeting refinement parallel to that of Google’s and allows marketers to target individual users through the content of their tweet. This means in addition to the standard geolocation, device type and interest filters that are currently in play, Twitter will also let marketers use keywords to target their preferred audience.

Imagine you’re looking to go away and ask your followers if they ‘Know any good eco-friendly places to stay in Cornwall?’ you may (or may not) get several responses back from people you know, with the new update you could also get served  a promoted tweet from eco-friendly hotels in… yep, you guessed it, Cornwall. If done well, this could be a massive bonus for marketers, especially those with a limited budget who want to target a high percentage of engaged users.


Camera brand GoPro has already trialled the new ads and saw close to 2 million impressions with 11 per cent engagement rate on promoted tweets, that’s a significant increase on Twitters already market-leading engagement rate of 1 to 3 per cent.

Twitter will generate $582.8 million in global ad revenue in 2013 and $1 billion in 2014 – a stark increase from its $288 million in 2012, according to eMarketer estimates.

So what does this mean for marketers?

  • It could increase promoted tweet reach to a larger, more engaged audience.
  • It allows for more specific ad targeting.
  • It should increase overall engagement with promoted tweets.
  • It might become the better option for those with a limited budget.

Things marketers need to consider

  • Do your research. Twitter’s only going to find the right people to target if you feed it the right keywords.
  • Always ensure there’s a reason for your tweet. Although your tweet will be served to a more specific target audience, it still needs to be relevant.
  • No in-jokes or cryptic tweets. Whilst your tweet might be being served to people who are talking about your industry, it doesn’t mean they’re a fan of your brand or have even heard of you. Remember you’re still trying to win over a new crowd.
AUTHOR: Harriet Rhodes
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