Twitter has announced a new advertising product with great promise for the travel industry: keyword targeting.
The feature allows brands to target specific keywords on the popular micro-blogging platform for the first time.
This means that advertisers have much more granular access to the vast amounts of content shared on the site each day, facilitating a more surgical advertising approach that should ultimately convert better.
Twitter's explanation of this new feature:
Our self-service advertisers can now target interests in two specific ways. First, they can target users with the same interests as followers of @usernames. For example, if a golf pro shop were promoting itself, it might target users who are similar to those who follow @GolfDigestMag, @GolfChannel or even a former professional golfer like Annika Sorenstam (@ANNIKA59).
They can also choose from a wide-ranging list of over 350 interest categories—from auto racing to birdwatching (or in this case, golf). By targeting people’s interests, advertisers can tailor their messages to reach those most likely to engage with them.
In addition to these interest targeting options, self-service advertisers can now specify the exact devices and platforms to have Promoted Tweets display.
The opportunity here is significant: luxury hotels that already have data about which devices convert better can specifically target those devices. Tour companies that wish to discover which devices convert better can now test and refine their marketing campaigns. Restaurants seeking hungry patrons can target tweets with intent.
Already-existing demographic data can also be repurposed on the new targeting platform, as brand marketers can identify Twitter users similar to their most lucrative customers and specifically target only those that are most likely to respond favorably.
Travel businesses can also use any recommendation-seeking tweets as triggers for ads about their product, service or location.
Of course, the creepy invasion of privacy is always an issue. However, Twitter is a much more open platform than Facebook - generally, people are there to broadcast widely. Anyone who has made their tweets private will already be voluntarily walled-off. There's just much less of a "personal journal" feeling about the constant stream of tweets.
Nonetheless, marketers testing the waters should be prudent. Some Twitter users may not like instantly being bombarded with Sponsored Tweets addressing something they were recently discussing. It has elements of the controversial re-targeting that has spread across the Web, and user reactions should be closely monitored.
Another issue is accidental targeting - say insensitively targeting someone who's relative just died and is about to travel, or inadvertently causing contextual confusion with a Sponsored Tweet appearing next to some dissonant piece of content.
TwitterAdsUK has created the following graphic to show how Twitter (and Twitter Ads) should fit into a marketer's content strategy. Basically, using Twitter and the related targeting products, a brand can ensure that they are top of mind across the users' expectation for always-on real-time responses.
Twitter has also opened access to the advanced advertising interface to all advertisers who prefer the more detailed insights provided by the company's native analytics.
Companies can sign up by logging into http://ads.twitter.com, setting up a campaign and opting in for the new interface.