Future of Content

December 20th, 2013

Twitter’s Tailored Ads to Boost Branded Content Distribution

In case you missed it, the big news in the digital ad world this month is the launch of Tailored Audiences, Twitter’s new retargeting program. For brand publishers, it’s a pretty big deal as they look to get eyeballs — specifically, the right eyeballs — on their content.

If you’re in the branded content business, you know that “native” social media ads like Sponsored Stories and Promoted Tweets are a powerful way to connect consumers with your content. You’ve probably also heard a thing or two about retargeting. Retargeting is the practice of using data – lots of data! – to deliver ads to specific individuals, as opposed to merely buying up a site’s inventory and hoping the right people stumble upon your ad. The most well known form is still Site Retargeting, which serves ads to people who have previously visited your site.

Not so long ago, if you wanted to take advantage of retargeting’s power, you were pretty much limited to traditional display banners. But that all changed in September of 2012 when Facebook launched FBX, a media exchange that made it possible to retarget Facebook users with units that look a lot like Facebook’s content-rich social ads.

For Facebook, the turn to retargeting was a big risk. Prior to FBX, you had to rely on Facebook’s own data if you wanted to reach the right person. With FBX, Facebook opened the door to targeting based on all of the online behavioral data that can be gathered outside of Facebook. The fear was that Facebook users wouldn’t want to see ads for products they’d viewed outside of Facebook, that users would feel as though brands were not just stalking them, but stalking them all the way into their private social network.

Sure, you could use Tailored Audiences to run what amounts to traditional Site Retargeting, tweeting out messages to everyone who visits your site. But you can also use your CRM data to do a whole lot more.”

The good news for Facebook, and for the retargeting world as a whole, is that the fear turned out to be misplaced. FBX is a massive success, accounting, by some estimates, for a billion in revenue per year. In fact, if you want to understand why Facebook’s stock price has recovered so nicely, you can start by looking at the numbers on FBX. Facebook now even makes it possible to target users right in their News Feeds.

And so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Twitter, fresh off its IPO, would want to quickly join the fun. But what really has the ad world buzzing is not just that Twitter is introducing retargeting, but also that it has the power to take retargeting in exciting new directions.

Sure, you could use Tailored Audiences to run what amounts to traditional Site Retargeting, tweeting out messages to everyone who visits your site. But you can also use your CRM data to do a whole lot more. Maybe you want to send “thank you” tweets to everyone who buys one of your products? Maybe you want to tweet a fun branded video to everyone who makes it to the checkout page but fails to make a purchase? You can now even send targeted tweets to people who have searched for terms related to your brand, serving them the kind of articles, videos or other content that they’re looking for.

As you can see, the possibilities with Tailored Audiences are almost endless. The ability to communicate your voice on Twitter makes retargeting even more personal, and that, ultimately, is why it holds so much promise.

Or, in other words, picking up some Twitter stock might not be such a bad idea. And neither is making Tailored Audiences part of your content distribution plan.

Ben Plomion is VP of Marketing at Chango, where he heads up marketing and communications. Prior to joining Chango, Ben worked with GE Capital for four years to establish and lead the digital media practice. This led to the development of GE Capital’s digital value proposition and its execution worldwide. The new venture re-energized paid, owned and earned media across 70+ web sites. Ben graduated from GE’s Experienced Commercial Leadership program after completing his MBA at McGill University. Before GE, Ben held a variety of Marketing & Business Development roles in the e-payments industry, while working at Gemalto in London. Ben writes frequently for MediaPost, Digiday, CMO.com and ClickZ. Ben is based in NYC.

What’s the deal with the Content Strategist? At Contently, storytelling is the only marketing we do, and it works wonders. It could for you, too. Learn more.

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