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

3 skills you need to drive better collaboration

A study published in The Harvard Business Review found the time spent in collaborative activities at work has increased by over 50 per cent in the past two decades. Larger projects; complicated problems; tighter timeframes: These require bigger teams with specialised skillsets and diverse backgrounds, often dispersed globally.

Jen Jackson

CEO, Everyday Massive

Better the bank you know?

In 2018, only 21 per cent of customers believed that banks in general had their customers best interests at heart and behave ethically. Only 26 per cent believed that banks will keep their promises; views cemented further following the Hayne Financial Services Royal Commission.

Carolyn Pitt

Head of account management, Hulsbosch

What 15 years of emotional intelligence told us about youth media audiences

Taking people on an emotional journey through content is the most critical part of being a publisher. Which is why emotion lies at the heart of VICE Media.

Stephanie Winkler

Head of insights, VICE Asia-Pacific

This journey would identify all your future life aspects!

Maryann Humphrey

Open Colleges: one-to-one journeys is the goal

Read more

It's a pretty good idea. I think this integration is useful. Don't you agree?

Misty Stoll

Officeworks hops on voice interface bandwagon with Google Assistant integration

Read more

ok. so no RCS support? by the way, RCS is a lot bigger than 5G in terms of marketing and monetisation so y'all should be covering it.

DragoCubed

Optus goes for education with 5G network campaign

Read more

Many companies and individual merchants have shifted their major part of marketing to web marketing services Portland as it weighs fewer ...

Radiata Solutions

6 Ways to ramp up Social Media to Your Web Design

Read more

This is a unique experience! Will be interesting to talk to their managers.

Joyce Harris

​How Krispy Kreme revitalised its brand in a saturated market

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in