Twitter is now offering marketers the ability to target people based on keywords in their timelines. 

Hit People Where They Live

Well, I don't "live" in my Twitter, but I seem to be there a lot, and none of us can deny that we pay attention to things being said in there regularly, if not sometimes feverishly. Which is why it makes sense for marketers to want to have a presence in there. 

Aside from building their own brand communities on Twitter, many look to advertise. Keyword advertising is popular in any place, but with Twitter it's only been one element that shapes the Twitter interest graph -- until now.

Now marketers can directly target keywords in tweets, tweets a person writes or engages with, hitting them with timely ads. What we are talking about here is a way to push Promoted Tweets (essentially advertisements) to a particular person faster. As a Twitter user, you won't necessarily see anything different, just maybe more relevant Promoted Tweets.

Targeting Twitter Keywords

The example that Twitter provides is someone tweeting about a an album they really like. Advertisers could pick a keyword for the band in the tweet and send out their tweet about an upcoming concert in their area (this is the Promoted Tweet).

It sounds good, somewhat promising to see Promoted Tweets be a little more contextual, but remember that people can ignore them as well. That being said, Twitter has done some testing and found that keyword targeting for Promoted Tweets has led to greater engagement with those tweets because they are more contextual and timely.

Marketers can target based on phrases or unordered keywords, as well as by device, gender and location.

Twitter Keyword Targeting

I expect marketers will jump on this option fast. I can also already envision how product vendors can include this capability in their social advertising applications.

Still, there is some trepidation about this new capability. VentureBeat's John Koetsier believes that it could be challenging to determine commercial intent in some tweets:

If I tweet about my wife’s illness, are you going to target me with a random medicine? Or if you tweet about a great dinner you’re just about to eat, will you really be receptive to ads about a Greek restaurant just down the road? Twitter says it’s helping advertisers target “signals of intent,” and that might sound like Google-ish search keyword targeting, but it’s not clear that the link is quite as obvious as an intentional, directed search."

Overall, I think people who are really active on Twitter will appreciate more targeted advertising -- wouldn't you?