Twitter has become the latest web giant to join the likes of Google and Facebook, to use cookies for retargeting. On December 5 last year, Twitter Inc. announced that they will begin showing ads to Twitter users, based on their browsing activity. With Twitter’s new advertising feature, marketers will be allowed to display targeted Twitter ads with the help of cookies.

Twitter had earlier announced that it would start testing targeted ads, based on browsing history of the users. Now, with the launch of ‘Tailored Audiences’, Twitter will  be competing with the likes of Facebook, Google, Amazon and many other companies that rely on internet advertising.

How will it work?

Let’s say you visited a specific mobile company website before logging in to your Twitter account. You might find promoted ads from that mobile company on your Twitter timeline.

Here’s an example, as shown by Twitter in their Advertising Blog 

Is this a good time?

The increasing public outcry and debate over invasion of privacy, due to this tracking technology hasn’t seemed to affect Twitter’s decision to join the club. On the contrary, this new feature is expected to raise revenues and advertising rates for the company.

What if I don’t want to be tracked?

Twitter has clarified that it will abide by and respect the choices of its users. If you do not want to be tracked, go to Twitter’s Help Center  and opt for the ‘Do Not Track’ option for your browser.

In case of promoted ads on Twitter, you can adjust your settings on Twitter. Tick the box next to “Promoted Content” if you wish to receive such ads. Uncheck the box if you don’t. The steps to do this are given below.

Step 1

Sign in to your Twitter account and go to ‘Settings

Step 2:

Under ‘Settings‘ select ‘Security and privacy‘ on the left

Step 3:

Scroll down and do the needful.

Check the box if you want promoted content.

Uncheck the box if you don’t want promoted content.

And then click on ‘Save changes’.

What will this mean for marketers?

Marketers can use Twitter for ad retargeting. It will particularly help brands who are on Twitter. For instance, if I go to the website of Brand X, and then I log in to my Twitter account, I will most probably find promoted tweets of Brand X on my timeline (provided Brand X is on Twitter and my privacy settings permit tracking features).

What will this mean for users?

Users will see promoted tweets of company websites they recently visited.  This could be good or bad depending on the offers in particular. Of course there is a way to get out of this. Change your settings and you will be free from ‘promoted content’. On the other hand, if you don’t mind occasional ads about things that actually interest you, then don’t change a thing.

In all probability, this will only help Twitter gather momentum in its advertising ventures.  Targeted ads have greatly benefited Facebook and Google and are expected to have the same effect on Twitter as well.

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