Twitter toying with more tailored ads, aiming to protect users' privacy

The end result would be better -- not more -- ads, the company claims

Twitter is working on some new approaches to offer more personalised ads to users, partly based on their online activity outside of the social network.

The experiment, which will display promoted content from brands and businesses that users have shown interest in, will be starting soon in the U.S., said Kevin Weil, senior director of product for revenue at Twitter, in a July 3 blog post.

The idea is to provide more relevant ads to users. "Users won't see more ads on Twitter, but they may see better ones," Weil said.

Here's how it would work, in Twitter's words: Say a local florist wants to advertise a special offer on Twitter for Valentine's Day, but only to flower enthusiasts who frequent the company's website or subscribe to their newsletter. The company would be able to share a scrambled, unreadable email address (a hash), or browser-related information (a browser cookie ID), with Twitter. Twitter would then match that information with certain user accounts, and show only those people a promoted tweet in their feed with the Valentine's Day deal.

"This is how most other companies handle this practice, and we don't give advertisers any additional user information," Weil said.

Twitter is aware of the experiment's privacy implications -- a topic fresh on many people's minds following the recent leaks around U.S. government surveillance -- and is providing clear instructions on how to opt out.

The company notes that users can say no to program by unchecking the box next to "Promoted content" in their account settings. By doing that, "Twitter will not match your account to information shared by our ad partners for tailoring ads," the company said.

"This is the only place you'll need to disable this feature on Twitter," Weil said.

Also, Twitter notes that it supports the "do not track" privacy preference, which, if enabled by the user, prevents Twitter from receiving browser-related information from ad partners for tailoring ads.

In recent months, Twitter has rolled out several new services designed to further monetise the site. In April expanded its self-service advertising program so that any business in the U.S. could pay the site to promote its accounts and tweets.

The site also recently launched keyword targeting in timelines, to show ads to users based on what they tweet about.

The company already uses a range of signals to determine whether to place advertiser-purchased tweets in people's feeds, such as who users follow, how they interact with tweets and what they retweet.

In addition to tweets, Twitter also gives companies way to promote their accounts and also show up in the site's left-rail Trends panel.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Launch marketing council Episode 5: Retailer and supplier

In our fifth and final episode, we delve into the relationship between retailer and supplier and how it drives and influences launch marketing strategies and success. To do that, we’re joined by Campbell Davies, group general manager of Associated Retailers Limited, and Kristin Viccars, marketing director A/NZ, Apex Tool Group. Also featured are Five by Five Global managing director, Matt Lawton, and CMO’s Nadia Cameron.

More Videos

Great read. I agree that it should be a perfect balance between interacting with your customers and knowing your brand. As a business, yo...

Caroline Scott

7 ways CMOs can improve their customer engagement game

Read more

Very true. Team development helps improve collaboration among the team members. I was able to improve my team's collaboration skills by t...

Quent Sinder

Why empowering others can help make you a great leader

Read more

CRM is a very good software that can help you succeed in your business. In my company, this system has allowed me to improve customer rel...

Anna Janicka

Sensis rebrands to Thryv and brings business software to Australian SMBs

Read more

AI Leasing Assistants have finally arrived for the multifamily industry. With so many to choose from it can be hard to figure out which i...

Alice Labs Pte. Ltd.

CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 6 May 2021

Read more

Nowadays, when everything is being done online, it is good to know that someone is trying to make an improvement. As a company, you are o...

Marcus

10 lessons Telstra has learnt through its T22 transformation

Read more

Blog Posts

Why if marketing is all you do, you’ll never be very good at it

OK, so you’re probably thinking: “Here comes another article to badger me about living in my bubble.” And also, “I bet this bubble-bashing piece will go on to explain how I can achieve better results through some heady dose of new life experiences, new routines and annoyingly different opinions on social media.”

Dane Smith and Toby Harrison

Ogilvy Australia

A leader’s role in rebuilding a culture of confidence

Every day, there are new predictions and studies on the future of work, the state of the economy and the unfolding global pandemic. All of which creates uncertainty and heightens the imperative of effective leadership.

Michelle Gibbings

Workplace expert, author

Confused About Your Customers?​

​I've worked in brand and marketing for more than 20 years. But there’s one area where I’ve found myself going around in circles and I must admit I'm becoming increasingly confused.

Rich Curtis

CEO, FutureBrand A/NZ

Sign in