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Twitter ads can now be targeted to specific email addresses and usernames

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Lauren Granger
While studying towards her Bachelor of Journalism degree at Rhodes University, Lauren gave into her fascination with everything digital. As she was more interested in creeping... More

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No, cookies aren’t enough. Twitter has now created a new way for advertisers to make sure their ads are seen by the right users — and it’s getting pretty specific in its targeting. Right down to individual email addresses and lists of user IDs.

In an update to its targeted audiences feature, the Twitter team has given advertisers the ability to narrow the number and type of users who will see their promoted tweets by targeting only users whose email addresses are stored in their own CRM databases, or even a list of usernames and IDs. In a blog post, product manager Kelton Lynn explains that advertisers will be able to securely share hashed versions of their email databases with Twitter (or through one of its certified ads partners), which it can then match up with a specific group of user accounts, who will be shown a promoted tweet.

Going one step further, Lynn writes that advertisers will also be able to target ads using lists of Twitter IDs. While they won’t be able to send forth a stream of promoted tweets aimed specifically at mega users like @katyperry for example, Twitter can help advertisers identify a group of prospective users using publicly available information like the user’s bio, follower count, verified status or previous tweets.

To help prevent advertisers from focusing all their efforts on a few specific popular accounts in hopes of gaining a retweet or follow, Twitter says it has implemented a minimum audience size for advertisers using the target audiences feature. But if you’re an influential user, you may be seeing a few more promoted accounts which focus on your specific niche littering your timeline in future.

Twitter targeted audiences

The new feature could potentially help Twitter provide more valuable (and relevant) ads — especially considering the fact that advertisers who may already be using products from partners like MailChimp and Salesforce ExactTarget can now run integrated campaigns aimed at very specific groups like card holders or newsletter subscribers. Previously, targeting audiences was limited to browser information (for example, targeting Twitter users who had also visited your website recently).

Of course, Twitter has stressed that it still has its users’ privacy in mind — in addition to the minimum audience size limitation, it also gives users the ability to opt out of seeing tailored ads by unchecking a box in their privacy settings menu (it’s on by default).