Twitter’s keyword targeting will do Google more favours than harm

Twitter unveiled its keyword-targeting capability for advertisers yesterday (April 17) amid an expected slew of product announcements in what representatives of the company describe as a “big step” in its targeting capabilities.

Ronan Shields

Marketers can now target users by keywords based on users’ recent tweets in addition to the already available geolocation, mobile device and interest filters.

For instance, a soft drinks company could target all the users who had recently tweeted “I’m thirsty”, in addition to Twitter’s existing targeting tools.

If this sounds familiar to Google’s AdWords platform – which itself has went through a major overhaul recently – then you’d be right. I’ve previously aired my opinions that Facebook and Twitter pose more of a potential threat to Google’s towering dominance in the search market than the ‘search alliance’ pairing of Bing and Yahoo.

However, I’d also like to add one more stipulation. I think this competition from Twitter will be welcomed by Google, especially as it faces ongoing scrutiny on both sides of the Atlantic over its practises in the search sector.

Google has reportedly recently proposed a host of concessions, including labelling its own products more clearly in its search results, to European regulators considering complaints that it gives its own properties undue prominence in its results.

While I hardly expect the introduction of Twitter’s keywords feature to massively erode the profitability of AdWords, I imagine it will aid Google’s cause in fending off criticism from the likes of Microsoft by further adding to market plurality.

In fact, I’d ask the question of how Twitter keywords targeting along with the likes of Facebook Graph Search, will effect the lowly marketshare of the aforementioned ‘search alliance’?

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here