Twitter’s move into programmatic buying opens up new opportunities for advertisers, says Martyn Bentley, sales director at programmatic advertising platform, Chango.
Programmatic marketing has been quietly on the rise for a decade now. Marketers who have embraced it have largely found that ad spend becomes more efficient, targeting is more accurate, and they can access insights that were impossible only a few years ago. But there has always been one notable fly in the ointment – mobile.
Whilst the programmatic world has gradually built itself up into a multi-billion dollar industry ($3.4bn in the US alone last year and projected to be $9bn by 2017, according to eMarketer), advances in mobile have lagged behind. Primarily, the challenge of tracking online users beyond their desktop, because of the lack of cookies in mobile devices, has held it back.
But user-fingerprinting technologies are beginning to resolve this issue, and we’re starting to see other cross-device solutions emerge, which don’t rely on the cookie. Twitter’s Tailored Audiences service, which it launched at the end of last year and extended with additional tools last month, is breaking new ground in this area.
Working with Chango, and other selected programmatic advertising platforms, the social network is now able to offer brands and marketers far more targeted and relevant Promoted Tweets. In early beta tests of the service, some advertisers saw lifts in engagement as high as 170 per cent.
Previously, Twitter could only enhance a campaign with its own first-party data. But now, by accessing third-party data, brands can define specific audiences outside of Twitter and then connect with them on Twitter itself.
And where does mobile sit in all this? After all, Twitter isn’t the first social media giant to embrace programmatic. Facebook has been serving retargeted ads through its FBX exchange since 2012.
However, FBX and tailored audiences differ in one crucial aspect. Unlike FBX, which does not deliver ads to mobile devices, the vast majority of Promoted Tweets are delivered to mobile devices. That means even if a user visits a brand’s website on his or her PC, this data can still lead to a Promoted Tweet being read on a device such as a tablet. In fact, tailored audiences represents the first time consumers have experienced large-scale retargeted advertising in a mobile environment.
So, how exactly might a brand use this new tool for engaging with Twitter users on mobile? There are multiple approaches a marketer could take. A Promoted Tweet could be sent to in-market consumers who haven’t previously engaged with a brand but have searched for relevant terms. An example could be a manufacturer of car seats for children delivering a special offer via Twitter to customers who had typed the words “baby car seat” into a search engine.
The brand could also identify a Twitter-user who had just visited its own website, but who didn’t make a final purchase, and retarget them with a Promoted Tweet directing them to a special offer. Or a marketer could entice back dormant customers by analysing historical purchasing data and tailoring a tweet at just the right moment to re-engage.
And, what about the new tools added to the service last month? One particularly useful new function allows brands to plug in records from their own customer relationship management (CRM) databases to connect with existing customers on the social media network. For example, an advertiser could run a Promoted Account campaign to its most active customers from the previous month.
With Twitter being such a powerful player in the digital world this feels like a significant moment for programmatic advertising. No doubt we’ll see further enhancements for the service in the near future.
But, the real revolution in programmatic and mobile advertising is still yet to come. Many ad tech players are busy working on technology that will one day replace the cookie altogether and allow ads to track internet users effectively beyond their desktops. It won’t happen in 2014, so expect the cookie to be around for a while yet. But, as mobile penetration continues to soar, we can expect demand for more cross-device solutions, like tailored audiences, to increase rapidly.
Martyn Bentley is sales director at programmatic advertising platform, Chango