When search marketing began to take off around the mid-2000s or so, it really put keywords in the spotlight. Google has been one of the pioneers of search marketing and of keyword targeting and today if you spend any time engaging in search engine optimization, it’s likely that you’ve attempted to keyword target with Google, particularly if you’ve used the Adwords online advertising platform. Keywords are the cornerstone of the Adwords platform and it looks like Twitter and Facebook might be following suit.
For an example of how to keyword target, we will use Google Adwords. Let’s say that you have an optician practice and you want to send out targeted ads to people looking for new eyeglasses. By focusing on keywords such as ‘men’s designer eyeglasses’, you hope that your ads will show up when search engine users type that very query into the search box.
Now Twitter and Facebook are trying to get into the keyword targeting game, and it looks like Twitter is beating Facebook to the punch.
Keyword Targeting with Twitter
Twitter recently announced that it was moving towards keyword targeting, which will allow advertisers to target certain Twitter users based on the Tweets they send (and the keywords included with those tweets), as well as their location (based on geotargeting).
As Twitter describes it, “Let’s say a user tweets about enjoying the latest album from their favorite band, and it so happens that band is due to play a concert at a local venue. That venue could now run a geotargeted campaign using keywords for that band with a Tweet containing a link to buy the tickets. That way, the user who tweeted about the new album may soon see that Promoted Tweet in their timeline letting them know tickets are for sale in their area.”
Some marketers are skeptical as to whether or not keyword targeting will work with Twitter. According to them, a tweet and a search engine query are two totally different things. For one, most search users search because they have an intent to buy. It’s no big deal for them to see keyword targeting in the form of advertisements – they may even appreciate it.
What about Twitter users. When a person tweets, they’re trying to involve themselves in the conversation. They don’t particularly want to be sold to in that moment. In fact, placing an ad in front of everyone’s tweets as you attempt to keyword target with Twitter might only serve to annoy your audience rather than snag them.
Still, Twitter feels confident that keyword targeting will work on its platform. The platform released a statement that read, “In our tests with a small group of advertisers and agencies like Everything Everywhere (@EE), Microsoft, Japan (@SurfaceJP), and Walgreens (@Walgreens), users were significantly more likely to engage with Promoted Tweets using keyword targeting in timeline than other forms of targeting in the timeline.”
Keyword Targeting with Facebook
Ever since Facebook launched its IPO, it has been searching for a way to satiate investors with a true monetized advertising platform. Will keyword targeting save the day?
Facebook has attempted the online advertising game with Facebook ads, but the platform has yet to take off, at least when you compare it with Adwords.
Many people are used to thinking about how to garget with Google, but not many people are used to how to keyword target with Facebook. That means that Zuckerberg’s social giant is going to have to think of something big if they want to make a dent in the keyword targeting game and Adwords’ share of the market.
It’s clear that Facebook and Twitter have both borrowed heavily from Google in a number of ways and it looks like emulating Google’s keyword targeting is the next logical step. It’s still too early to tell how the average user will tolerate targeted ads based on the content they input. With the majority of Twitter and Facebook users taking to the platforms to communicate with friends and family, or to keep tabs on their favorite celebrities, many users may find keyword targeting intrusive.
The lesson for marketers is that, whether you are attempting to keyword target with Google, Twitter or Facebook, make sure your ads are highly-targeted (meaning that the user will find them highly-interesting) and pray that you’re not intruding on their social networking time.
Twitter is forging ahead with its keyword targeting program and all marketers now have the ability to keyword target with Twitter, as long as they are identified as a brand. Hopefully Facebook will come up with a solution soon. Until then, we’ll watch Twitter to see how it performs and we’ll put most of our current efforts into learning how to better keyword target with Google.