Twitter to improve ad targeting capabilities by collecting app data from users

Twitter has announced that it will now be collecting app data from its users on iOS and android, which it hopes it will improve the targeting for brands advertising on the network.


The “app graph” will accumulate information on the list of apps users possess, giving the platform a better idea of what users like, which apps they use and the games they like to play. In addition, it hopes to gain more insight for in-app ad recommendation on app install and engagement ads.

Twitter reported earning $320m in the third quarter of 2014 for its advertising revenue, with 85 per cent coming from mobile ads. Although this has shown growth in revenue by 109 per cent, the fourth quarter predictions have been less than desirable.

The company has been looking to keep the pace with Facebook’s efforts to grow advertising revenue’s beyond its own walled garden. As advertisers demand deeper social media insights, Twitter hopes its latest tool ultimately helps lift the effectiveness of campaigns.

What does it means for brands?

Conor Lynch, media manager of We Are Social, says: “The move offers the chance to develop an increased targeting portfolio, allowing relevant brands to focus on driving app installs and reaching out to users who fall into their target market.”

This all ties in with the introduction of the Twitter card ad format, indicating an increased focus on direct response and attempting to help brands turn this large digital savvy audience into potential customers, according to Lynch.

As well as creating targeting opportunity for advertisers, Twitter introduced ‘Offers’ this week, which allows users to access click-through payments from the promotions featured on the platform. This is temporarily being trialed in the US, but shows the networks’ wider to plans to create more space for ads within their content.

For brands, the move means more personalization and potential to focus on geo-local campaigns on Twitter. Chris Buckley, the director of digital engagement for TMW Unlimited says, “One of the frustrating things about Twitter at the moment is the inaccuracy of ‘location’, in that too few people geotag their tweets. If we were able to get hold of more reliable data that opens up a whole world of work we could do around e-commerce and offers. With the launch of the new ‘Offers’ button, it all begins to make sense.”

Twitters strategy may help to close the gap in ad revenue between the network and Facebook. Buckley told Marketing Week that the announcement was inevitable given its rivals growth in the area.

“The move will allow Twitter to further build its interest-targeting feature, as it endeavors to catch up with Facebook on providing more value and relevance for brands,” says Lynch.

Users cautious of shared data

Twitter could face criticism from their users who showed dissatisfaction after the social network inserted tweets into their timelines by people that they did not follow, in October.

“It will be no surprise when there is backlash, something as basic as using Facebook Likes to serve ads to your friends made a big enough splash; and this is even more intrusive,” says Buckley.

Twitter has been transparent about its new changes and suggests it is simply collecting the suggested data to offer a more “tailored experience” for clients. The network offered instructions on how to opt-out the service and will only collect a list of app names and not the data within them.

‘There will be backlash around data usage, but Twitter isn’t doing anything that Facebook hasn’t done,“ says Lynch.