Smaller advertisers gain access to tools previously reserved for larger players.

Twitter yesterday rolled out new tools to enable the mostly smaller advertisers using its self-service ad platform to target consumers. The tools were previously available only to larger advertisers that work with a member of Twitter’s sales team.

The tools enable advertisers to target consumers based on their interests, as indicated by the Twitter accounts—or handles—that they follow. For instance, a golf gear retailer can target users who are similar to those who follow Golf Digest (@GolfDigestMag), the Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) or a former professional golfer like Annika Sorenstam (@Annika59) on Twitter.

Marketers can also target ads using Twitter’s list of more than 350 interest categories, such as golf, by gender and based on the device that a consumer is using to view the microblogging service. For instance, a retailer can choose to target Android devices with a campaign to download its Android-specific app and iPhone users to download its iPhone app.

“By targeting people’s interests, advertisers can tailor their messages to reach those most likely to engage with them,” wrote Ravi Narasimhan, Twitter’s product manager, revenue, in a blog post.

Marketers can use the tools to present consumers with either Promoted Tweets or Promoted Accounts ad units. Promoted Tweets enable marketers to pay to increase the prominence of a post. A Promoted Account enables marketers to pay to show up in the social network’s “Who to Follow” box.


In addition to the targeting tools, Twitter also opened up its advanced campaign tools to all U.S. advertisers. The advanced tools aim to give marketers more insight into their campaigns. For instance, marketers can see all the engagements that a Promoted Tweet campaign receives—not just those that advertisers pay for, but also earned media, which refers to posts consumers reply to or retweet. That provides marketers with more complete insight into the impact Promoted Tweets have in driving engagement and exposure on Twitter, Twitter says.

Twitter’s self-service advertising platform is available by invitation for U.S.-based businesses. It says it plans to launch the platform internationally later this year.

By adding more targeting tools, Twitter aims to boost advertising revenue. Even though Twitter may be an important element in many retailers’ social marketing strategies, few advertise on Twitter, according to a survey in the Social Media 300, a comprehensive analysis of e-retailers’ social commerce strategies that ranks retailers’ social skills on the percentage of web site traffic they receive from social networks. The survey of 175 companies selling online found that 3.5% have used a Promoted Account and 4.7% have used a Promoted Tweet.