By Mike Stiles on Sep 05, 2012
Think of social targeting in terms of the archery competition we just saw in the Olympics. If someone loaded up 5 arrows and shot them straight up into the air all at once, hoping some would land near the target, the world would have united in laughter.
But sadly for hysterical YouTube video viewing, that’s not what happened. The archers sought to maximize every arrow by zeroing in on the spot that would bring them the most points.
Marketers have always sought to do the same. But they can only work with the tools that are available. A firm grasp of the desired target does little good if the ad products aren’t there to deliver that target. On the social side, both Facebook and Twitter have taken steps to enhance targeting for marketers. And why not? As the demand to monetize only goes up, they’re quite motivated to leverage and deliver their incredible user bases in ways that make economic sense for advertisers.
You could target keywords on Twitter with promoted accounts, and get promoted tweets into search. They would surface for your followers and some users that Twitter thought were like them. Now you can go beyond keywords and target Twitter users based on 350 interests in 25 categories.
How does a user wind up in one of these categories? Twitter looks at that user’s tweets, they look at whom they follow, and they run data through some sort of Twitter secret sauce. The result is, you have a much clearer shot at Twitter users who are most likely to welcome and be responsive to your tweets. And beyond the 350 interests, you can also create custom segments that find users who resemble followers of whatever Twitter handle you give it.
That means you can now use boring tweets to sell like a madman, right? Not quite.
This ad product is still quality-based, meaning if you’re not putting out tweets that lead to interest and thus, engagement, that tweet will earn a low quality score and wind up costing you more under Twitter’s auction system to maintain. That means, as the old knight in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” cautions, “choose wisely” when targeting based on these interests and categories to make sure your interests truly do line up with theirs.
On the Facebook side, they’re rolling out ad targeting that uses email addresses, phone numbers, game and app developers’ user ID’s, and eventually addresses for you bigger brands.
Why? Because you marketers asked for it. Here you were with this amazing customer list but no way to reach those same customers should they be on Facebook. Now you can find and communicate with customers you gathered outside of social, and use Facebook to do it. Fair to say such users are a sensible target and will be responsive to your message since they’ve already bought something from you.
And no you’re not giving your customer info to Facebook. They’ll use something called “hashing” to make sure you don’t see Facebook user data (beyond email, phone number, address, or user ID), and Facebook can’t see your customer data.
The end result, social becomes far more workable and more valuable to marketers when it delivers on the promise that made it so exciting in the first place. That promise is the ability to move past casting wide nets to the masses and toward concentrating marketing dollars efficiently on the targets most likely to yield results.