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Twitter is arming marketers with more tools to help them target users with a new followers dashboard and the ability to aim messages at specific locations. The changes, while not ground-breaking, show how the company is working to improve its business plan by making it easier for marketers to use the network to reach consumers. This is an essential part of Twitter’s monetization plan, making companies more comfortable in leveraging Twitter to advertise to its user base.
Twitter president of revenue Adam Bain spoke at the Ad Age Digital Conference on Wednesday and introduced a new dashboard for marketers that allows them to get detailed information about who is following their accounts. Now, marketers can see over time how their follower base has grown, what interests they have, the gender break downs, where they’re located, how engaged they are and who they follow. Customers can isolate any one segment and get additional information about that audience.
Bain also said Twitter is allowing marketers to target promoted tweets and accounts by location on a country, state or demographic area level. This is something that Twitter began rolling out in a beta test last month but it’s now available for all marketers. It’s a no-brainer feature but it shows that Twitter is quietly ticking off obvious needs as it improves its pitch to marketers.
Yesterday, I went into some of the ways that Twitter has been evolving to improve its appeal to both user and marketers. One reported improvement, brand pages for companies, was sidestepped by Bain, who said he had nothing to report on that front.
Bain continued to stress that Twitter is a viable way for marketers to reach consumers because it’s organic and relevant to them. He said a year after introducing promoted products, engagement is still the same at 3-5 percent, meaning 3-5 percent of users who receive a promoted message are still retweeting, replying to or favoriting promoted tweets and following promoted accounts. He said the key is that marketers are able to insert themselves into a conversation with users so their interaction is viewed less as marketing and more like actual content.
“It’s an ad product that rewards marketers for being good, not just for being loud,” Bain said. “When advertising works it transcends the idea of advertising. In fact people think of it as content.”
And that is gaining traction with marketers. Bain said the number of corporate customers who pay for promoted products has jumped from six last year at this time to 600 while the size of the Twitter sales staff has grown from 5 to more than 50. Bain said there are now 140 million tweets produced a day and 1 billion a week. It initially took Twitter more than three years to get to its first billion tweets.
Again, Twitter still has a ways to go to sort out its monetization plan but the story seems to be improving in small and necessary ways. We’ll see if the company can keep users happy with the service as it ratchet up its money making engine.