Last week Twitter launched self-serve ads outside of the U.S. Many people will be rejoicing at the fact they can tune their marketing plans to adapt PPC spend and ultimately target customers precisely. It might be worth noting, however, that the demographic tools won’t be as granular as the ones developed by Facebook. And that raises a few questions.

For context, I’ll give you a timeline of events that will help explain.

In 2010 Twitter launched a selective, brand-focused advertising platform that would serve up ads in Twitter search results. This later developed to allow brands to drop into Twitter feeds based on topics customers had tweeted about or searched.

In 2012 Twitter then introduced this to mobile, building on the data it was gathering from users through mobile usage to ensure that ads were relevant and efficiently targeted.

These two developments on the platform still very much embodied the spirit of Twitter’s vision statement:

“We want to instantly connect people everywhere to what’s most important to them”

The promoted tweets from these two developments did exactly that. They were important to you. You’d engaged with the brand previously and therefore the content served was relevant to your experience with them.

Now we’ve seen Twitter open the ad-serving doors to the public and introduce other major changes to the services they provide – such as Custom Timelines with its own API as well as introducing pictures and video in to the main body of Tweets.

So, why is this good to know?

A number of reasons, really, but we should keep in mind Dick Costolo’s vision statement which puts the Twitter customer at the heart of the experience.

For example, in an age where we see creative C.V’s, such as this one from Robby Leonardi, an astute talent could look to use Twitter to get his/her work in front of the right people.

Naturally, I am of the belief that if your skills are good enough their popularity can grow more organically. Robby was even covered by Mashable, so I doubt he’ll be short of work for a while, but this could be a way to use PPC well.

However, I do worry that social PPC could prove ineffective for those entrepreneurs who have not used targeting tools before.

Brands have had the benefit of learning and hiring media and search professionals to make the best return on investment for their spend. By opening the tool to everyone, Twitter may have opened the floodgates to PPC creative which is poorly targeted and so is not of interest to the people who will see it.


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