Just when you thought it was invasive enough when you search for something online and a minute later you see an ad pop up about the exact topic, it gets worse. Twitter is now following suit similar to Google and Facebook, announcing the roll out of more targeted advertisements focused on who you follow, what you retweet and your basic interests, as assessed by Twitter.
Twitter has been offering advertisements in their feeds for quite some time now, hosting them within your news feeds relevant to a search topic or phrases that have been searched for. Now, advertisers have the ability to target users on Twitter by their topical interests.
With a total of 350 categories ranging from that cat food you need to buy for your pet to those awesome leather boots you were hoping to find the cheapest prices for online, advertisers can target these search topics and keep it very specific. Every account you follow and each tweet you reply to gives Twitter a little more information about your interests.
Additionally, advertisers can select particularly influential users and cater campains to their interests, targeting other users who share those interests as well. This enhanced targeting is available for Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts.
On the political front, it appears that tweets have the opportunity to be geotargeted now as well, helping candidates to reach people in particular districts or swing states. This is could prove as a really effective way to connect with the younger generations who use Twitter.
Twitter’s focus on interest targeting makes its advertising program much more competitive with Google’s and ever more so, Facebook’s. Facebok has been offering advertisers a slew of options for granular targeting since Facebook users give off unbelievable amounts of information by filling out profiles, “liking” pages, recording the history of places they’ve lived and worked, etc.
Twitter believes that by serving up a more relevant selection of advertisements, it will keep users and advertisers happy. What sets them apart from Facebook and Google is the fact that Twitter has always been a very public network, where users don’t generally join with the expectation of having privacy through the network. They also won’t be following the same methods that Facebook and Google use in terms of searching data and sifting through keywords in your email.For example, every time you decide to use an app and click accept to the terms associated with it, it’s giving them the ability to look into all of your information, have access to your account, post on your wall and more.
The biggest difference between Twitter ads and Facebook ads is the line between relevant and spam, which is something Facebook has struggled with for quite some time. Based on the information that Facebook collects from it’s users, one would think their targeted ads would be on point and not overwhelming. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
Twitter users have yet to react negatively to this change, most likely because users don’t feel like there’s that much of a change. To search for a term and then see an advertisement relevant to that search is almost expected at this point. Perhaps the future holds bigger and bolder changes for Twitter, but for now it doesn’t seem as though anyone’s complaining.
Sandra Daiken is a freelance writer focusing on technology and her quest to find the best web browser out there.