Social Media Tools

Will Geo-Targeting Jump Start Twitter Advertising

Guest post from Matt Krautstrunk, an expert on VOIP phone systems based in San Diego. He writes extensively at Resource Nation.

When it comes to small business advertising, social holds seemingly endless opportunity. Small business owners are not only experimenting with social advertising, but they are investing in social even more so than other, more proven digital tactics. According to eMarketer, 29% of businesses plan to add social media tactics to their marketing mix in 2011, where only 22% of businesses are investing in SEO.

Today, Facebook is the primary purveyor of social advertising for small business. According to eMarketer, last year Facebook grossed $1.86 billion in advertising revenue. Of that, $1.12 billion (60%) was earned from small businesses in local markets.

twitter advertising open for business on geo-locationTo date, Twitter hasn’t been a meaningful advertising option for any but the biggest brands, as the “Promoted Trends” fees typically run $100,000 to $120,000 per day. But, that could be ready to change, as Twitter is rolling out geo-targeting within their ad platform, enabling advertisers with less than national scope to purchase Promoted Tweets and Promoted Trends on a local or regional basis.

Will Targeted Twitter Advertising Kill the Experience?

From a platform standpoint it remains to be seen if Twitter can build a robust and broad advertising platform without ruining their core service. If they can, small businesses should budget for experimenting with Twitter ads in the near future. Geo-relevance gives the ability for businesses to target locally and keep cost per engagement around $.10 (projected).

Twitter advertising rolls out local optionsHow Twitter derives “location” for targeting purposes is interesting. Twitter doesn’t just use the location that users’ input in their bio. Instead they use a combination of the user-provided location and the places a user actually tweets from most often on their computer or mobile device. If Twitter can reach the mobile audience with geo-relevant promoted trends and tweets it opens a whole new window of potential opportunities ( Think: Come in to X location to get Y % off your purchase). According to the Mobile Marketing Infographic on Digital Buzz, Twitter currently has 165 million users; around 50% of them use Twitter Mobile.

Twitter Advertising Will Continue to Change

As Twitter matures, it will likely work hard to balance paid and natural tweets to keep both users and advertisers happy. Consider how often Yahoo! changed the ad holes and layout since the pioneering GoTo launched in the mid-90s (which became Overture, which begat Yahoo!, which begat Google AdWords, which spawned Twitter promoted tweets).

Consequently, small businesses should test Twitter advertising strategically and often, as what we see on Twitter today – and what we’ll see in the initial geo-targeted rollout – will not be what we see in the future.

How likely are you to experiment with geo-targeted Twitter advertising once it’s widely available, and affordable?

(photos by Shutterstock, a Convince & Convert sponsor)

Facebook Comments


  1. says

    Thanks for the insights, Matt. The geo targeting options will certainly help small & larger brands alike connect to more specific niche audiences, but to me this isn’t the key to mass adoption of Twitter ads once the platform comes out of beta.

    As it stands, promoted accounts and tweets rely on advertisers providing specific keywords (what Twitter calls “Interests”) to target users. Unlike Facebook, Google & Yahoo etc, there isn’t any science behind the terms you select nor audience information such as reach or demo available as you select those keywords. You get this info from other ad platforms’ tools such as the Google Keyword tool or within the Facebook Ads center.

    Certainty geo targeting is a much needed feature for Twitter Ads, but the platform needs to mature so advertisers can not only leverage it more, but also trust it, rather than winging it.

  2. says

    Once geo-targeted Twitter advertising is affordable and results are promising then I might experiment with it. I think it will definitely help out the local businesses and keep them riding the social media waves. :)

    – Lark Miller

  3. says

    Once geo-targeted Twitter advertising is affordable and results are promising then I might experiment with it. I think it will definitely help out the local businesses and keep them riding the social media waves. :)

    – Lark Miller

    • says

      Hey Lark – Based on the results we’ve seen, I’d say it is affordable. Certainly the beta period requires a significant investment, but the costs we are seeing aren’t significant.

      • says

        Thanks for the comments everyone. I’m excited to learn about the typical ROI that businesses will generate from targeted Twitter advertising. And if that’s too hard to measure, what value they are pulling from these engagements.

  4. says

    This will be interesting to see how it plays out. I dont like the direction Twitter is taking (paid ads) because it shows lack of creativity on their part. Ad sponsoring was the expected direction to take with so many eye balls and they took it, but its not creative nor original. And thats disappointing. Could it be indicative of a more systemic issue at Twitter HQ?

    • says

      It’s definitely not the most original idea, but it doesn’t disrupt the user experience much, and Google has certainly proven that this type of advertising can be effective and profitable.

      • says

        Those are all fair points Jay, but hear me out on this one.

        In terms of user-experience, I agree, those ads are very easy to ignore.

        But in terms of google being successful in building an ad platform, lets examine that for a second.

        When google did that it was original and creative. Now that Twitter is doing it, its not. Is this indicative of a deeper problem? THAT is my question.

        When google did it, they had creatives working on the case. When Twitter did it, they had quants working on the case. This is a fundamental difference that may in fact effect the outcome.


        • says

          I agree that it’s a copycat move. But Facebook’s model is basically the same. And for the record, when Google did it they stole the mechanics of the model pixel for pixel from Yahoo, who acquired it from Bill Gross and Idealab when they bought GoTo/Overture.

          Does the lack of creativity in the ad model indicate a deeper problem at Twitter? Maybe. But I’d argue that their on and off ecosystem moves and alternating embrace and rejection of third party developers, combined with essentially stagnant growth, are bigger red flags.

          • says

            Tru dat, I would even argue that alternating embrace and rejection of developers and stagnant growth are in fact closely related to lack of direction and creativity. Dont you think?

            More I think about Twitter, more I realize just how lucky they got by falling into this ass backwards. They never intended for Twitter to be what it is today, so it makes me question the original spark of creativity….was it even there to begin with?

          • says

            Originally, I’d say yes. The idea of a public text messaging service that functions like CB Radio wasn’t exactly on everyone’s list of obvious ideas. Was it?

  5. says

    Testing the name of the game online.

    Trust, but verify any new method of marketing so that you know for yourself what you’re missing out on or not. Testing often is also one of the best teaching experiences you can ever get.

    Sure, learning from info-products is awesome and helpful but it’s NOWHERE near as helpful to your growth as you actually taking something you learned and testing it for yourself. This takes you out of the bench of “Professional student” and into the game which is where all the glory is to be had.

    It’ll be interesting to see if Twitter make this test work. Will the reach Facebook and Google ads glory? Only the future will tell. Thanks Matt for writing about this as I’d never sat down and read anything about this yet and I’m glad to done so.

  6. says

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  7. says

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