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Twitter's retargeting tool may shift major direct response ad dollars to mobile

As marketers increasingly look to tie together their email and mobile channels, Twitter?s new retargeting tool that was launched last week will likely shift big amounts of direct response advertising into mobile.

Twitter?s new ad product lets advertisers target by email addresses and cookie IDs. Although the opportunities for mobile advertising with cookies are limited, email could be particularly significant for marketers looking to connect mobile, email and social.

?For email marketers, they are making strides in tracking email promotions and clicks on smartphones and tablets, and these profiles don't have to rely on cookies,? said Mahi de Silva, CEO of Opera Mediaworks, San Mateo, CA.

?The promise is large-scale social media vector to retargeting,? he said.

?You take sophisticated tracking associated with email marketing and add social profile data to not only better target users, but to be able to leverage Twitter to market to a broader like-minded audience. This could shift a big chunk of direct response dollars into mobile.?

Target on mobile
Twitter?s new ad targeting tool lets marketers target consumers who either visit their Web site or subscribe to a brand?s email newsletter.

Using the tool, marketers can use a scrambled, unreadable email address or a cookie ID to then serve up a promoted tweet to a user in their Twitter stream.

For example, a quick-service restaurant will be able to send out a promoted tweet to users at a specific time based on consumers browsing a Web site or to an email subscriber. If that tweet also contains a coupon, the ROI on these kinds of social mobile ad units could be significant for marketers.

To account for privacy, Twitter does not release any additional information about users to advertisers.

If Twitter users do not want to receive the targeted ads, consumers can go into their account and uncheck the promoted tweets box in the account settings section. Users are opted-in to the setting by default.

As Twitter?s advertising products increasingly become more targeted, the opportunity for marketers to retarget consumers is growing.

?Well-implemented targeting typically also lends itself to compelling retargeting,? said Craig Palli, vice president of business development at Fiksu Inc., Boston.

?Given Twitter?s level of social awareness vis-à-vis social graph and real-time interests, Twitter is uniquely positioned to offer incredibly exciting targeting options and performance,? he said.

Mobile-first mentality

Mobile challenges
Given that smartphones and tablets do not support third-party cookies, Twitter?s new ad product will likely not have a large impact on mobile from a cookie ID perspective.

However, there may be a few sophisticated marketers with first-party traffic and infrastructures that can pull off retargeting to a consumer from a Twitter ad via mobile.

According to Mr. Silva, the opportunity for Twitter and retargeting is around connecting the consumer profile to the offline data held inside cookie-exchanges and email marketing systems.

Facebook, on the other hand, likely has more data on its users because of their set preferences and friends, meaning that Twitter?s opportunity with retargeting the new tool is not revolutionary.

?If nothing else it certainly provides more options,? said Alexis Berger, vice president of Midwest sales at Kargo, New York.

?Twitter?s new product does mirror Facebook?s custom audience tool, but with that I think brands should always look to diversify their approach and this new product does allow Twitter to have more skin in the game.?

Twitter's Android app

Tweet on mobile
According to Craig Elimeliah, vice president and director of creative technology at Rapp, New York, the new Twitter ad product makes for a more compelling option for mobile marketers because it taps into Twitter?s DNA as a mobile-first platform.

Essentially, the nature of Twitter?s ad platform makes it ripe for retargeting opportunities since content is simple, short and viral.

?Twitter is natively mobile,? Mr. Elimeliah said.

?It is the perfect platform for targeted ads because Twitter has been diligent in staying true to the brevity and ferocity of a mobile communications platform, and has built a level of trust where users understand that their stream will not be compromised by ad content that will disrupt the experience,? he said. 

?Instead, users are aware that Twitter?s ad platform may even enhance their experience.?

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York