Twitter’s keyword targeting is the next big thing (if you can afford it)

Last week we attended Twitter’s Twitter4Brands conference – an annual event showcasing some of the latest developments by the platform and some innovative or standout case studies.

The big news from a product perspective is real-time keyword targeting. This new (paid) functionality allows marketers to potentially put their tweet in front of anyone discussing a problem to which their product or service might offer the solution, or even ‘double target’ by highlighting those watching a TV show where a TVC has been aired, then following up with a tweet to hammer the point home.

The impact of this could be huge – if you think back to how PPC platforms like AdWords changed the search landscape, keyword targeting is potentially one step towards a similar evolution within Twitter feeds.

When Channel 4’s recent Dogging Tales documentary blew up on Twitter, we responded with a very timely, on-brand tweet which picked up great organic engagement. With keyword targeting in place, this could very quickly have been served in-feed to anyone mentioning the #DoggingTales hashtag in real time, and gained exponentially more exposure than the organic reach alone allowed.

But the opportunities extend beyond simple exposure. If the rumours about Twitter’s upcoming paid opportunities for small businesses are to be believed, pubs that play live music can use keyword targeting to pick up mentions of a tweeter’s desire to have a beer and listen to a band – providing that person with a geo-targeted tweet to let them know they have both music and beers.

Particularly social (exploitative?) kebab shops could do the same to get their tweets into the feeds of people taking the last tube home after a drink – and mobile phone shops can target people moaning about their old device with a one-time-only-just-for-you-coupon-upgrade-code to take into their nearest store (for example, “see in-tweet map, below”).

The potential and flexibility for this is huge, with one big caveat: brands have to have the cash to put their tweets out there. This is no small task for many – the minimum spend to access Twitter ads is still out of reach for a lot of players, so it’ll be interesting to see what size Twitter perceives ‘small’ business to actually be.

For those that can afford it, this really could be a game-changer in real-time marketing: the potential for a hyper-relevant, personalised, precisely-timed tweet appearing in someone’s timeline in exactly the right context is a perfect storm of exposure for brands. If you want to find out how this might affect your brand, see what Twitter has to say for itself.

Alex Willimott is Community Manager, TMW

@AlexWillimott