Twitter Rolls Out Lookalike Audiences, New Mobile Ad IDs, Targeting By Phone Number

twitter-crm-usethisTwitter’s Tailored Audiences just got a little more more tailored.

Advertisers can now augment their customer data using mobile advertising IDs and mobile phone numbers as a way to reach existing customers and increase audience size. In essence, the move is an extension of Twitter’s Tailored Audiences for CRM retargeting, which allows advertisers to use hashed non-PII email address to retarget existing customers.

Twitter also rolled out the ability to target lookalike audiences, a function that seems pretty similar to Facebook’s tool of the same name. Twitter’s lookalike modeling uses a proprietary algorithm that examines modeled users looking for similarities related to behaviors, interests, location, demographic attributes and engagement patterns.

Twitter described its enhanced offerings in a blog post on Tuesday as “part of improved targeting options to help advertisers reach additional users similar to their existing audiences.”

Tailored Audiences, Twitter’s seeming answer to the Facebook Exchange (FBX), officially launched back in December after running retargeting and database matching tests in July. Twitter has appeared to follow Facebook’s lead with a number of its recent roll-outs, including site retargeting, CRM targeting and now retargeting via lookalike audiences. (Facebook also makes it possible to target users by phone numbers through Custom Audiences.)

At the time of the original launch of Tailored Audiences, Alex Andreyev, director of omnichannel marketing at Neo@Ogilvy, referred to Twitter’s Tailored Audiences as “following in the footsteps of Facebook’s audience-buying strategies. They’re taking user cookie behavior (first- and third-party) to power retargeting and audience profile opportunities within their native ad units, similar to what Facebook did with FBX.”

But Josh Boaz, managing director and co-founder of Direct Agents, a digital agency whose client list includes Amazon, eBay, Samsung and Allied, noted that Twitter’s move makes Tailored Audiences into a more robust offering than Facebook’s.

“With Twitter’s new functionality they are increasingly creating an ad platform that competes with and in some ways surpasses Facebook’s,” Boaz told AdExchanger.

In addition to building audience off of phone numbers, advertisers can also use Apple iOS and Android mobile IDs to get the job done by looking at which apps a user has installed or what action they’ve taken within an app. Alternatively, rather than go it on their own, advertisers, can choose to work with one of Twitter’s Ads API partners, a list that includes Adaptly, Fiksu, SocialFlow, Sprinklr and The Weather Company.

One question that comes to mind regarding using phone numbers to target Twitter users is: How many Twitter users have actually shared their phone numbers? It’s a difficult question to answer considering Twitter doesn’t make that number publicly available.

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