Twitter offers ad targeting via personal interest categories

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Twitter’s functionality for advertisers has been enhanced – making the social media network a more plausible destination for Internet marketing activity.

The microblogging site has added a new targeted campaign system that allows marketers to specify individual user interests across over 350 different categories.

Paid-for and promoted tweets and accounts will no longer need to be distributed with little or no targeting, and will instead benefit from the kind of guidance that will allow advertisers to engage with users with relevant interests to their products or services.

Marketers will still need to bid in order to get on-board, but the interface offered to advertisers now features interest-oriented targeting options that allow for an easy, effective approach to using this particular social service.

The 350-or-so stock interest options are not the only items that are selectable by advertisers, either, taking personalised ads to a whole new level.

Marketers can also choose to set up a customised interest pool, based around users or branded accounts which share a similar area of the market.

This should help to find an audience in the Twitter user base who will find their ads relevant, thus increasing CTRs and conversion rates in the process.

Bidding has been made more affordable with the launch of Twitter’s revamped ad platform, and thus it is also now cheaper to run promotions via Twitter.

A spokesperson for the site said that it would be far less hassle for brands to specify the target recipients of tweets, rather than relying upon a scattergun approach to get results.

Of course, Twitter does not require that its users enter any interests when they sign up.

It is instead using algorithms to analyse their public tweets as a means by which to extrapolate this information.

This is not the first time that Twitter has put this concept into practice. It already harnesses user data to help recommend similar accounts that might be of interest to them, so applying it to advertising on the site seems to be a logical, and potentially effective, step.

A handful of companies have put the new targeting system through its paces in the last month or so, according to the Twitter spokesperson. A recent trial of targeted promoted tweets, after a short term discount was offered on them, resulted in engagement rates of up to 3%.

This is roughly in line with existing engagement levels found via promoted tweets, although Twitter expects that content quality may play a vital role in determining just how engaged the audience will be in the future.

Twitter's director of product management, Kevin Weil, explained that content is the key to winning bids, because this is taken into account when allocating promoted tweets.

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