Twitter has yet to reach its full potential when it comes to ad targeting. The social networking site has long been playing catchup to Facebook, which launched its email-based targeting service in 2012. Twitter didn’t announce its “tailored audiences” service until this past January.

With Facebook, advertisers can also target people by the “interests” the site asks new users to fill in when creating an account. Twitter’s answer to this was to let advertisers push their marketing messages to users based on who the user follows.

For example, if a user follows several football players, coaches and commentators, they may receive a targeted ad from a company selling sports drinks. More recently, Twitter announced the ability for advertisers to target consumers based on keywords found within a user’s tweets.

Twitter's Missing Links 

Still, Twitter’s ad targeting service leaves something to be desired. So what’s the missing link? There are actually two:

1. Demographics

Unlike Facebook, Twitter doesn’t ask you very many questions about yourself during the signup process. In fact, aside from your location, it doesn’t ask you to provide any demographic information at all. Facebook, on the other hand, knows exactly who you are.

It knows your age, gender, location, interests, sexual orientation, relationship status, religion, political view, schools you attended and jobs you’ve held. As creepy as that may sound, this info is extremely valuable to the companies that want to advertise their products to you. Without demographical information, Twitter’s ads tend to reach a much broader audience than advertisers desire.

2. Intent to Purchase


While Twitter may be able to scan your tweets for keywords and then send you ads based on those words, it doesn’t account much for your intent to purchase a product that you’ve mentioned. Just because everybody’s tweeting about Pharrell’s crazy Grammy’s hat, doesn’t mean that tens of thousands of people are in the market for a new hat, warranting an ad from Stetson.

A New Solution

LeadSift, known for its ability to sift through millions of social conversations to deliver targeted leads announced today the launch of its Audience Intent Miner (AIM) to provide companies with the ability to deliver targeted messages on Twitter.


This product takes Twitter ad targeting a step further by identifying users in the buying journey.

According to Tukan Das, CEO of LeadSift, “We automatically take social conversations and group them into one of the four buying journeys that a consumer goes through. Starting from brand awareness, to identification of need, to consideration and evaluation and finally post purchase. If I’m an advertiser I know where my customers are and I can target them based on where they are in the buying journey.”

For instance, you wouldn’t want to display the same ad for a consumer who shows interest in buying shoes vs. a customer who recent bough a pair of shoes from you. The latter would benefit from an ad that encourages brand loyalty vs. brand awareness.


AIM can also target users by advanced demographics, psychographics and behavioral attributes. As Das explained:

Let’s say that from your Twitter profile I learn that you’re checking into an airport more than three times a month, therefore you’re probably a business executive and a frequent flyer. If I’m a high end shoe company, I will put an ad in front of you for a high end shoe because chances are you would probably be interested in learning more and potentially buying from that brand in the future."

A user doesn’t have to explicitly express interest in buying a new pair of shoes in order to receive a targeted ad from AIM, they must simply fit the persona of the customer the advertiser is hoping to reach; which sounds like a smarter way for brands to reach their target audience via Twitter.