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Twitter launches keyword targeting to offer advertisers intent-based marketing

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By Jessica Davies, News Editor

April 17, 2013 | 3 min read

Twitter has bolstered its ad proposition with the launch of keyword targeting in timelines, letting advertisers target users based on intent.

The move means advertisers can reach users based on the keywords they use in their tweets along with which of those tweets people have engaged with.

Marketers can now target audiences based on signals of intent, reaching them at the right moment with contextually relevant ads.

For example, if someone tweets about enjoying their favourite band’s latest album, and that band is playing at a concert at a local venue – that venue can run a geotargeted campaign using keywords associated with that band, with a tweet containing a link to buy the tickets.

The person who originally tweeted the message will then see a Promoted Tweet in their timeline, alerting them to the fact tickets are on sale in their area.

Everything Everywhere was a test partner for the product on Twitter globally. Kevin Weil, senior director of product for revenue at Twitter said he expects a “significant” number of UK brands to start using the new product “within the next few hours”.

Speaking to The Drum he said the boundaries between social and search are becoming increasingly aligned. “Many of the best practices that have evolved around paid-search advertising will make sense here when it comes to keyword targeting…we also see an increasing connection between Twitter and TV and that’s a fascinating application of this technology,” he said.

Twitter’s product manager for revenue, Nipoon Malhotra, said in a blog post that the changes will not mean users are plagued with more ads.

“Users won’t see any difference in their use of Twitter — we’re not showing ads more frequently in timelines, and users can still dismiss Promoted Tweets they don’t find relevant.

“In fact, we believe users’ experiences with ads will improve as a result of this feature as they see more relevant Promoted Tweets. In our tests with a small group of advertisers and agencies like 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,” he said.

It also ran tests with wearable and gear-mountable camera brand GoPro. This comprised running four marketing campaigns using keyword targeting in timeline, for which it claimed generated nearly two million impressions and recorded 11 per cent engagement rates with tweets using the new feature, according to Twitter.

Malhotra said setting up a campaign to target keywords in the timeline is similar to the process for search. A marketer must enter the keywords they want to target, choose if they want to use phrase match or unordered keyword match and then specifiy other options including location, device and gender.

The product will be available in the full Twitter Ads user interface and through the Ads API.

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