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Okay, just to clarify one of the latest talking points, and ad additions on Twitter.

Over the past week, several users have noted that keyword targeting is now available in Twitter ads, a new addition that was ‘shockingly’ not available in times past.

Elon himself has effectively mocked the stupidity of previous Twitter management for missing this key opportunity.

As Musk notes in this above video clip:

“As mind-blowing as it is, Twitter did not have [keyword targeting] functionality until recently, which is insane, but now it does.”

But Twitter did absolutely have keyword targeting functionality.

Back in April 2013 – exactly ten years ago – Twitter announced the launch of keyword targeting for ads, which enabled advertisers ‘to reach users based on the keywords in their recent Tweets and the Tweets with which users recently engaged’.

As explained by Twitter at the time:

“For example: 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.

So, the exact functionality that Elon is discussing in the above clip, which was available a decade ago.

So what’s the confusion here?

Well, over time, Twitter actually found that keyword targeting wasn’t effective, because unlike Google, which uses keyword targeting to great effect, people on social media post about topics that they’re interested in, not what they’re searching for, as such.

Users, for example, will engage in arguments about politics, pop culture, etc. The problem with keyword targeting in this respect is that you end up reaching many, many users who are absolutely not interested in the product that you’re trying to sell, because they’re engaging in a totally different mindset to discovery.

Because of this, Twitter gradually shifted the focus away from keyword targeting, and more towards expanded audience reach based on interests and trends. Audience Expansion, for example, enables you to reach more people who have similar characteristics to your target audience, and are therefore more likely to be interested in your products.

Essentially, just like targeting search keywords (which Elon has also brought back), Twitter found that the results these campaigns produced were not good enough, so it de-emphasized them and tried to move ad partners to more effective campaign approaches.

But they both did exist, and it’s a misnomer – or a misunderstanding – to suggest these are totally new features, and opportunities that were missed by the supposed knuckleheads that used to work at the app.

They were not knuckleheads, and they did not miss this glaringly obvious opportunity.

The bottom line: Use Twitter’s ‘new’ keyword targeting for ads at your own risk.