Twitter building 'interest graph' to target users
Twitter will create a 'graph' of users' interests, based on who they are following, to enable brands to target people more effectively
Twitter is building an "interest graph", which will help brands target people more effectively via "promoted tweets", the service’s advertising format.
Shiva Rajaraman, a product manager at Twitter, said: “Moving forward, [with promoted products] we are looking at introducing a targeting mechanism [which is based on an interest graph] … We can build out a person’s interests based on who they are following”.
Speaking at the Ad Tech conference in London this morning, Rajaraman said that whoever people follow gives a good indication of their interests, especially as one in five people follow a “commercial entity”.
“We are experimenting how we can assemble those pieces of information together and show people’s interests,” he explained.
Rajaraman stressed that people’s interests would not be attached to their name, but people’s interests in genres, such as "computers", would be grouped together for the purposes of brands.
He said that the San Franscico-based company, which announced a multimedia friendly redesign last week to better support photos and videos directly from the Twitter home page, was “experimenting with an interest graph” as a way to help brands target people more effectively when posting their promoted tweets.
He also revealed that people are posting 90 million tweets a day and a quarter of those include links to media.
Twitter, which famously resisted introducing a commercial model since its founding in 2006, announced the launch of promoted tweets in April 2010.
These self-styled adverts are "organic to the service" and appear as re-tweetable messages. Most of the brands using the service are still US-based, as the company is yet to localise the selling of the platform.
Rajaraman would not comment on whether promoted tweets had generated a profit for Twitter yet, but did reveal that it was “generating a return” for certain brands, who have come back “more than 20 times” to use the service.
He also encouraged brands to be creative when using the platform for commercial use. “Twitter has brought on a new age of the copyrighter. [It’s great for] those who can write great one liners … All adverts on Twitter are content,” he said.
Rajaraman also criticised those brands who just use Twitter in a similar way to an RSS feed, saying that “Twitter is very much an information network”, and that each tweet should have a headline, informing people about what they are about to click through to, and not just a link with no description. He also described the network as the “largest focus group in the world”.