Twitter has rolled out two new prongs to its "Tailored Audiences" targeting regime, which debuted last month as a vehicle strictly for website retargeting.
Among the new segmenting features are CRM matching and Twitter ID targeting. The latter allows the serving of ads based on a user's public characteristics, such as keywords appearing in a user's Twitter biography.
Twitter's CRM match program will be familiar to any marketers with experience using Facebook's Custom Audiences tools. Using it, ad buyers can match their email database of existing customer against Twitter's audience to deliver paid messages across the social network's desktop and mobile platforms. Database marketing companies, including Merkle, Acxiom, Datalogix, Epsilon, LiveRamp, MailChimp and Salesforce ExactTarget support the program.
CRM matching customers craving more granularity can use exclusion targeting, where a segment (e.g., recent shoppers) is removed from a Twitter audience segment. Those wanting broader targeting can use lookalike modeling, where Twitter will broaden a customer's audience by comparing existing customers to its users.
Paul Steketee, Merkle's head of paid social and emerging media, said based on his company's early experiments, Twitter's lookalike targeting creates audience segments two to five times larger than CRM matching on its own. (More results in Merkle's blog post.)
"The data they're able to use to create lookalikes is rich and unique to the platform," Steketee said. "You can't get it anywhere else. If a group of people are following certain people, or interacting with a tweet or hashtag, Twitter is able to identify those associations in real time."
The second new targeting option, User ID targeting, allows delivery of ads based on a user's public profile data. This is a somewhat novel approach, since many digital marketers are conditioned to avoid identity-based advertising. As such it seems uniquely suited to the open, public and identity-based nature of the Twitter platform. Facebook, in contrast, is mostly closed, so reaching users by public identity is a rare differentiating feature of Twitter's ad platform, which has often mimicked options already available through Facebook.
The new audience-targeting features in Tailored Audiences have already been integrated with Twitter's Ads API, Twitter said in its blog post, and can be purchased through API partners such as Optimal Social, Unified Social and Shift.
Twitter had initially planned to launch CRM and Twitter ID targeting last month, when it unveiled website retargeting, but thought it would confuse the marketplace. By packaging website retargeting together with CRM targeting, Twitter is once more following in Facebook, whose Custom Audiences program already bundles the approaches.
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