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Twitter’s New Interest Targeting Is Interesting, But Will It Work?

Twitter announced a new offering today: Interest targeting. And it’s . . . interesting.

Unlike Facebook, which focuses on clearly identified audience segments, Twitter has decided it will identify target audiences based on “interests.” This sounds great – but will it work?

In its post announcing the new offering, Twitter brands interest targeting as something that will allow businesses to “reach the right audience.” Let’s explore.

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.

And you can target users in one of two ways: broadly or specifically.
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).
interest targeting on twitter

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; [important "but" comes next - bold ours] they do not let you specifically target the followers of that @username. [This kind of stinks.]

Twitter says their beta testing of interest targeting produced positive results, so we’ll see!
But Facebook ads are successful because they target audiences based on user-provided data, namely gender, age, likes and interests, relationship status, workplace and education. Facebook is very different from Twitter though.

And Twitter doesn’t ask for any of the info Facebook does. Twitter assumes. And are these assumptions enough to give an accurate consumer profile when “tweets do not necessarily imply endorsement?” Guess we’ll have to wait and see how it shakes out.

How accurate do you think this interest targeting will be?

(Bullseye image from Shutterstock)

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