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’?

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Tom Fishburne is founder of Marketoon Studios. Follow his work at or on Twitter @tomfishburne See more of the Marketoonist here