Twitter is looking to entice more advertisers to the platform with a new Audience Insights dashboard, covering a wide range of analytics options. Similar to Facebook insights, Audience Insights includes an overview of various demographics, interests and purchase behaviour data, enabling Twitter advertisers to dig deeper into their audience and better target their content - both through paid and non-paid means.
In the example provided in Twitter's official announcement, they outline the new data available and the ways in which it could be applied:
"For example, if you're running a campaign to increase awareness about a new cosmetics line, you can use this tool to learn about your potential customers on Twitter - the beauty products they've recently purchased, what fashion trends they're interested in and even TV viewing behavior. Based on this information, you can identify the best segments to target within Twitter Ads, along with which creative - such as a Vine or video clip - your audience will find most compelling."
Being able to break down the data to this level of detail has significant benefits - Twitter also touts the ability to break down audience to specific devices. For example, if you knew that the majority of your Twitter audience was seeing your tweeks on an iOS device, you could ensure your content is tailored to that device.
The insights cover three categories at present - 'All twitter users', 'Your followers' and 'Your Organic Audience', giving you access to a range of insights on each.
Is it any good?
Really, access to any new platform data can only be a good thing, and free access is even better. The more insights and information you can gather, the better you're able to contruct accurate audience personas and use that info to better target your marketing plans to reach the people most receptive to your offerings. While the specific insights offered here are not particularly in-depth, they do enable you to get a better view of your Twitter audience and establish an understanding of who they are and how to reach them.
For instance, in the general overview you can access information on Interests, Gender, Household Income, Net Worth, Consumer Buying Styles and Wireless Carriers of your audience. At a glance, these seem somewhat generic, but combined they can provide good direction as to how to target and reach your specific audience.
For example, my followers are mostly interested in 'Business News and General info', but also, 'Comedy (Movies and Television)' ranks high on the list. This might mean I should put in a film or TV reference every now and then, that would likely resonate with my audience, given their interest.
Knowing the household income categories might help me better target my content, as I'll know whether my audience is more likely to want to spend on premium options or will be looking for more cost-effective alternatives, which you can match up with the 'Consumer Buying Styles' info. In the Lifestyle category, I can get an understanding of what TV show genres are of most interest among my followers, which, again, could help in content development, particularly around big TV events (like the Mad Men finale recently).
Some of the categories are very industry-specific. I don't personally see a huge amount of relevance from the 'Wireless Carriers' data, and insights like 'After-Market Auto Buyer Types' and 'Consumer Goods Purchases' are, on the surface, very targeted to industry segments, but combined together they all add to the overall audience picture - it's how you correlate the data that provides the real insight.
Audience location is another interesting addition - knowing where your audience is physically located is critical to maximising the effectiveness of your tweets, not only due to time differences, but also awareness of local happenings.
That data is also broken down into more specific regions, giving you great geographical insights, info that will surely be of assistance to local businesses, in particular.
There's also a breakdown of audience gender and home type, adding to the overall audience picture.
The Value of Insight
So what does this data show you? A lot. Or a little. As with all data and analysis, it's not the wand that creates the magic, but the wizard who wields it - the level of insight you'll be able to glean from these advanced audience metrics will really depend on the specifics of your business, of the audience you're seeking to reach, and then, on top of that, how well you can utilise the information provided. On face value, when looking at a single insights segment, it may not uncover a heap of information. But matched against other insights you have, mixed together with the various elements, you can start to see how all these elements come together to form better audience personas, and that can have a significant influence on the overall effectiveness of your marketing and advertising efforts.
From a user perspective, this can only be beneficial, as the more data and insights you can pull together, the better. From Twitter's perspective, in terms of generating more interest in Twitter ads, I'd say it can't hurt. As with Facebook, Twitter needs to keep a lot of its audience insights under wraps, as that's where the true value of their ad targeting lies, but providing access like this can only help increase interests in Twitter's ad products, particularly for industries where the specific information provided directly relates to their content.
Overall, Twitter's Audience Insights is an interesting addition, and one which will provide significant benefit to some brands. At present, much of the information is US specific, with Twitter planning to roll out the data to more regions in coming months. As that happens, I suspect we'll also see changes in data segmentation and access, new insights available, depending on the data for each sector. It's definitely a development worth watching and worth checking to see what you find.
Audience Insights can be accessed by logging in to ads.twitter.com and selecting 'Audience Insights' from the 'Followers' drop down, or by logging in to analytics.twitter.com and choosing 'Followers' from the top of screen options.
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