Interest targeting: Broaden your reach, reach the right audience

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Twitter brings you closer: Closer to people, to world events, to professional athletes, musicians, laureates, and world leaders — whatever your interests are. Our advertising products use this real-time interest graph to deliver relevant Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts to our over 140 million monthly active users. As a marketer, you’ve been able to extend reach and amplify messages by targeting users who share interests with your current followers. For example, Bonobos held a 24-hour sale exclusively on Twitter, and got word out by promoting Tweets to followers and users similar to their followers. This powerful targeting signal has resulted in a 1-3% average engagement rate for Promoted Tweets campaigns.

Today we’re taking an important next step by allowing you to target your Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts campaigns to a set of interests that you explicitly choose. By targeting people’s topical interests, you will be able to connect with a greater number of users and deliver tailored messages to people who are more likely to engage with your Tweets. When people discover offers and messages about the things they care about on Twitter, it’s good for both marketers and users.

How interest targeting works

There are two flavors of interest targeting. For broader reach, you can target more than 350 interest categories, ranging from Education to Home and Garden to Investing to Soccer, as shown in the screenshot below. As an example, if you were promoting a new animated film about dogs, you could select Animation (under Movies and Television), Cartoons (under Hobbies and Interests), and Dogs (under Pets). 

Twitter Interest Targeting

The two-level interest hierarchy is composed of more than 350 categories.

If you want to target more precise sets of users, you can create custom segments by specifying certain @usernames that are relevant to the product, event or initiative you are looking to promote. Custom segments let you reach users with similar interests to that @username’s followers; they do not let you specifically target the followers of that @username. If you’re promoting your indie band’s next tour, you can create a custom audience by adding @usernames of related bands, thus targeting users with the same taste in music. This new feature will help you reach beyond your followers and users with similar interests, and target the most relevant audience for your campaign.

How interest targeting performs

We have been testing interest targeting with a select group of beta advertisers. Many have seen significantly increased audience reach; others have creatively defined custom audiences to reach a very specific set of users. Across the board, they are seeing high engagement rates because they are reaching users who are interested in their content. Given these early results, we’re excited to make interest targeting available today to all of our advertising partners. 

Oh, and… 

We are also lowering the minimum bid to one cent for all of our auctions. As you know, our Promoted Products are auction-based, where winners are determined by engagement rate and bids. Great content matters: if you have engaging Promoted Tweet copy, you can win even if others bid higher. We believe the new lower minimum bid, in combination with interest targeting, will drive greater ROI for every campaign on Twitter.

We’ve always taken a thoughtful approach to monetization, and early results show interest targeting creates a better experience for marketers and users. Today’s announcements are a big step forward for our advertising platform, and we can’t wait to see how you use them.

Posted by
Kevin Weil (@kevinweil
Director, Product Management

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