Twitter's Shiny Object


Twitter finally found search and interest-based ad targeting. In Monday's blog post, Carolyn Penner tells us Twitter made it easier to find new accounts to follow, based on interests. The social site doesn't offer interest-based ad targeting. Not yet, anyway. But users can search for content based on their interest. I'm hypothesizing when I write that the ad targeting will likely come next. If it doesn't tie into Promoted Tweets or another ad platform that Twitter offers now or in the future, the company will have missed an excellent opportunity for advertisers to more closely target ads. For now, let's stick to search.  

Penner, who arrived at the social site via Google, explains that those searching on Twitter will now see a tip that points to a set of search operators and an advanced search page to help users quickly find what they seek.

Searching based on interests means users can click on "view all" under the "Who to follow" tag. The "Browse Interests" tag lets users select specific categories that seem most interesting. There are 22 interest categories including Art & Design, Deals, Entertainment, Family, Fashion, Technology, and Travel. The interests are tied to people -- for example, under Technology you will find @jack, Twitter cofounder and executive chairman, and CEO of Square.

There's also an Advanced Search feature to search a specific phrase or symbol. For example, users can type in multiple words in the "All of these words" search box, or an exact phrase in the "This exact phrase" search box. Users also search on positive and negative symbols such as ":)" or ":(,"along with retweets or questions.

In the long term, Twitter could look and act very similar to a cross between search engines and Facebook. Citing "sources familiar with the subject," Marketing Magazine reports that Twitter plans to launch "branded pages" that will allow advertisers to target tailored massages.

Matt Graves, Twitter spokesperson, says the platform already offers a way for brands to have a presence on Twitter. He calls them "profile pages" from companies such as Verizon Wireless, H&M, Coca-Cola and Papa John's. In fact, tens of thousands of brands and marketers have an active presence on Twitter.

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