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Twitter’s Tailored Audience is a Smart Copycat Move

Published: January 17, 2014

Author: Molly Shotwell

 Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? Twitter’s Tailored Audiences options sound hauntingly familiar (read: Facebook’s Custom Audiences). Regardless, the expansion to Twitter’s brand new Tailored Audiences feature is welcome. On the heels of their Tailored Audiences introduction, Twitter announced Tuesday that they are expanding their offerings to include audiences created via users’ emails or Twitter IDs, so “advertisers can define groups of existing and potential customers more flexibly and connect with them on Twitter.”
These new Tailored Audiences can be created from lists of email addresses from a CRM database or from lists of Twitter IDs. The description sounds a lot like Facebook’s Custom Audiences capabilities, which allow Facebook advertisers to upload a list of emails, phone numbers, or Facebook user IDs in order to find a set of users on Facebook. Of course, both Twitter and Facebook used hashed data to make the match, so users’ identities are secure.
The only hitch is that you must create Tailored Audiences through an ads partner. If you don’t currently work with one, then you are out of luck. On the other hand, Facebook’s Chrome application, Power Editor, allows anyone with an ads account to create their own Custom Audience lists. The added bonus is that Facebook goes beyond solely retargeting an uploaded list to allowing advertisers to create Lookalike Audiences using their Custom Audience lists. Lookalike Audiences are a set of Facebook users that are either in the top 1% (Similarity) or 5% (Greater Reach) of people who are most similar to your Custom Audience list.
The value in Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences is much greater than Custom Audiences/Tailored Audiences alone. The user matching is based on if the person uses that email for their account, so the output is less than the input. Lookalikes, however, allow for much more options for targeting (e.g. Lookalike + top interest targets). If Twitter can find it within themselves to copy Facebook wholly, the significance of their new targeting capabilities will be even greater.
Change is constant, as with any ads platform, so the idea of Twitter’s launch of [Insert synonym of “Lookalike” here] Audiences is to be the logical progression of Tailored Audiences (fingers crossed!). In the meantime, I am going to focus my upcoming Twitter efforts on the available resources for retargeting, which should not be downplayed. Retargeting is an amazing tool that allows advertisers to get consumers further down the funnel. Twitter does continue to take the right steps in the right direction. I think my next blog post will be the inherent value of Twitter’s new Tailored Audiences. J

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