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!

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

Blog Posts

Cannes Part 1: Why brands must put human interactions at the heart of their business

As a Media Juror at this year’s Cannes Lions, I was fortunate enough to attend the world’s most influential festival of creativity and listen to thought-leading marketers from around the globe.

Nickie Scriven

CEO, Zenith

4 creative skills that will be useful forever

In recent times, the clarion call from futurists, economists, marketers, educators and leaders the world over is one of slight panic, “The world is changing and you’re not ready for it!” And of course, they make a very good point.

Kieran Flanagan and Dan Gregory

Speakers, trainers, co-authors

Why defining brand strategy is vital to capitalising on quick wins

Big brands were once protected from small brands by high barriers to entry. Big brands had the resources to employ big agencies, to crack big ideas and to invest in big campaigns. They had the luxury of time to debate strategies and work on long-term innovation pipelines. Retailers used to partner with big brands.

Troy McKinnna

Co-founder, Agents of Spring, Calm & Stormy

Being an investor who has an understanding of the finance industry, I would question the validity of this article, judging by the impairm...

Rowan

How a customer-led digital transformation has helped this CMO generate $6m in incremental business

Read more

An interesting update considering that today is the easiest way it has ever been to measure contribution to the business as well as the h...

Frederic

State of the CMO 2019: Tenure shortens, pressure is on as marketers strive to demonstrate impact

Read more

I thought this was what Salesforce Audience Studio (formerly Salesforce DMP) was supposed to do. How are a CDP and a DMP different? I'm c...

Tony Ahn

Salesforce announces customer data platform

Read more

Well written Vanessa!! Agreed with your view that human experience is marketing's next frontier. Those businesses who are focused on the ...

Clyde Griffith

Forget customer experience, human experience is marketing's next frontier

Read more

Great tips for tops skills need to develop and stay competitive

Nick

The top skills needed to stay competitive in a rapidly changing workforce

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in