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Twitter Keyword Targeting: Four Things You Need to Know

by Katie Elizabeth  |  
June 25, 2013

Twitter recently launched keyword targeting for Promoted Tweets within users’ timelines. Previously, keyword targeting was only available to advertisers whose ads appeared within users’ search results.
Timeline keyword targeting gives marketers the power to reach their selected audience at precisely the right time and in the right context. This new tool opens doors for advertisers to create more interactive and useful Twitter ads. It also should inspire more creative marketing strategies. And most importantly, it doesn’t change the user’s experience!

If Twitter Ads is a part of your marketing strategy---or might be in the future---read on for four things you need to know about Twitter timeline keyword targeting.

1. Keywords Trigger Promoted Tweets

The Twitter timeline keyword targeting tool allows advertisers to target users based on the content of their tweets. Promoted Tweets reach a user’s timeline if he writes a tweet or engages with a tweet that contains your selected keywords.

Keywords can be specified within the Twitter Ads platform. The feature is available in both the Ads UI as well as the Ads API. If you’re familiar with targeting keywords in Twitter search results, the timeline setup is almost identical. When asked where you want ads to appear, select “Users’ timelines.” You can then enter your targeted keywords. If you plan to use multiple keywords within your campaigns, Twitter makes it easy to import your keyword file into the Twitter advertising platform.

You can then choose if you want to use exact match or unordered keyword match. Once you’ve chosen your keywords, you can then target your ads with existing options like location, device and gender.

2. Timeline Keyword Targeting Allows for Creative Marketing Strategies

Timeline keyword targeting can open up more real-time marketing opportunities for you and your brand. Twitter believes that timeline targeting with keywords will help increase engagement between users and advertisers since the Promoted Tweets will be extremely relevant to the reader.

For example, the user @Diabolina tweeted, “I could really use a triple latte right now.” The Barista Bar, a Twitter advertiser, selected latte as one of their timeline targeted keywords. Because @Diabolina is in the advertiser's geographic area, the coffee shop’s ad is triggered---and it even includes a coupon for the user!

3. The User Experience Stays the Same

Using timeline targeted keywords will not increase the amount of promoted tweets that users see in their timelines. Users will also still have the option to opt-out of viewing advertisements. In fact, the user experience might actually improve due to the high relevancy and money-saving deals that might appear in their timelines.

Before the release, Twitter tested the timeline targeted keyword ads with several different advertisers, including Everything Everywhere (@EE), Microsoft Japan (@SurfaceJP) and Walgreens (@Walgreens). They reported that during the test period, users engaged more with Promoted Tweets targeted by keywords than by other targeting methods.

4. Guinea Pig GoPro Had Promising Results

GoPro, a manufacturer of wearable cameras, was also a test partner for keywords targeted within Twitter’s timeline. Malhotra, a Twitter product manager, mentioned in the blog post that “after testing keyword targeting in timeline across four marketing campaigns, GoPro saw close to two million impressions, and engagement rates as high as 11 percent on Tweets promoted using the new feature.”

Need Inspiration?

Here are a few more keyword targeting examples.

  • Women’s Clothing Retailer in New York, NY. A clothing retailer can target a Promoted Tweet with a discount coupon that triggers if any female within a predetermined radius tweets about needing a new “outfit” for an event. The keyword in this case would be “outfit.”

  • Movie Theater in Fairfax, VA. Movie theaters can target users in their geographic areas by movie title. For example, if a user tweets “I want to see Movie XYZ this weekend,” a Promoted Tweet can be triggered with a special offer exclusive to Twitter users. They keyword in this case is the movie’s name.

  • Music Venue in Pittsburgh, PA. Music venues can offer special deals and presale codes to users who tweet about specific acts coming to the area. If a user tweets “I hope I get great tickets for The Band” before the tickets go on sale, an ad could be triggered for the venue that offers the user a presale code or discount on tickets. The keyword in this case would be “The Band” and users would also be targeted using geographic locations.

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Katie Elizabeth is a blogger and content coordinator for BlogKick. She enjoys writing about social media, marketing and technology. You can follow her on Twitter at @Katiegelizabeth.

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