Seeing more ads on Twitter? It might depend on who you are

Users have privacy options to turn the feature off, the social network said

The way consumers identify themselves on Twitter can now be used by marketers in their decisions to place ads in individual feeds, under a new expansion of the site's advertising program.

On Tuesday Twitter said it would be adding some new capabilities to its "tailored audiences" program that will let marketers target their ads to specific users based on their email address or information in their Twitter bios. The program, if enough advertisers take advantage of it, could help the social network raise revenue at a time when the pressure is on for the now-public company to turn a profit.

Part of the idea is to help advertisers better reach people on Twitter who are already loyal customers. If, say, you're a membership cardholder for a fashion retailer, the new tools are designed to let that retailer better reach you on Twitter. Under the new program, the retailer can share scrambled email addresses of its members with Twitter, and then Twitter would match that information to the accounts of those people, assuming they operate accounts on Twitter under those addresses.

A tweet from that advertiser might then appear in the person's feed, Twitter said in its announcement.

Scrambling is a process used by Twitter and its advertising partners to anonymize people's account information so their identities are not revealed. Twitter uses a behind-the-scenes software program that automatically matches people's email addresses and user IDs that are scrambled in this way. The process is meant to keep Twitter in the dark on whom exactly is being targeted this way.

The technology fits in with an ad analysis program Twitter unveiled last year, designed to look at how users' activity on the site might affect in-store sales.

Twitter's tailored audiences program was originally announced as a way to let marketers deliver ads to people based on their browsing activity outside of Twitter -- a concept that is already rampant across the Internet. Google and Facebook have operated their own re-targeting programs for some time now.

Tuesday's expansion shows Twitter is looking to give marketers even more ways to target individual people on its site.

Twitter gobbles up more cookies with retargeted ads, say researcher
Twitter buys MoPub, a mobile-focused ad exchange
Twitter opens up targeted advertising for marketers

The new advertising program also makes use of people's Twitter usernames and basic bio information. The idea here is to help marketers promote themselves to people who aren't yet loyal customers, but who might be receptive to their ads.

The retailer might be able to use public information on Twitter like a user's bio, follower count, verified status, or past tweets, "to identify the specific accounts on Twitter which are the most appropriate potential customers," wrote Kelton Lynn, product manager for revenue at Twitter, in a blog.

Twitter has partnered with a number of ad technology companies like Datalogix, Epsilon and Liveramp to make all the targeting work.

If Twitter users do not want to be targeted by advertisers in this way, they can adjust their privacy settings to turn off the matching, the company said. In users' privacy settings, there is an option to "Tailor ads based on information shared by ads partners." If people uncheck that, Twitter will not match people's accounts to information from ad partners, the company said.

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!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

The competitive advantage Australian retailers have over Amazon

With all of the hype around Amazon, many online retailers have been trying to understand how they can compete with the American retail giant.

Joel Milligan

Performance manager, Columbus Agency

How to become the customer experience custodian

The number one objective enterprises give for embarking on a digital transformation is to improve customer experiences with new engagement models, according to IDC’s 2017 global study.

Fear not: It's only a robot

Every time I pass through the automated border controls at the Sydney airport I walk away with a feeling of exasperation on the one hand and relief on the other. Exasperation, because the face recognition technology inevitably always fails to recognise me. Relief, because we seem to be safely years away from the Orwellian reality of states controlling every aspect of our lives; something the media is keenly warning us against each day.

Dan Kalinski

CEO, iProspect Australia and New Zealand

I worked at Momentum when the transformation started way back in 2013 (not 2015 as stated in the article). It was a painfully slow and co...

Jay

How Momentum Energy has transformed its entire business to be customer-led

Read more

Another buzzword thoughtlessly latched onto, without any thought for the implications on the organisations that have to lumber through th...

Tired

Rolling out agile marketing at Deakin

Read more

Useful., also don’t miss out on these 5 features of Adobe Experience Cloud - Visit here > http://www.softcrylic.com/b...

Sunil Joseph

Adobe debuts Advertising Cloud, Experience Cloud

Read more

the systems that run these things are teachable just like a car, theres stuff still yet to come out to bring up the automation grade, b...

Magnus Robert Carl Wootton

Fear not: It's only a robot - Big data delivery - CMO Australia

Read more

Marin Software’s digital marketing solution as a short way of streamlining and finding a scalable solution...

Al Drazhev

How BizCover is boosting search advertising success

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in