Twitter’s Event Targeting Helps Marketers Zero In On Live Audiences

New ad tool will take the guesswork out of targeting people following live events on Twitter.


Twitter, long the leading social network for real-time marketing, is pushing its advantage. Today the company introduced event targeting, a new advertising feature to help brands and businesses reach people engaged with live events on the network.

Up to now, marketers interested in going after Twitter audiences during major events like the Super Bowl, Grammys, the FIFA World Cup or Wimbledon were limited to mostly manual efforts and guesswork about what hashtags, keywords and accounts to target.

With event targeting, Twitter said, marketers now have a tool to simplify, inform and automate that process. The new feature has three basic elements:

  • A calendar that highlights major global events and events related to sports, holidays, festivals, television, music and politics in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Brazil and Japan. Users can filter by type of event, location and date.
  • Event insights, which provide historical data about how events have performed on Twitter, including how many people have tweeted, how many people those tweets reached, device usage and demographics about the audience. Insights also displays the most popular hashtags and keywords and tweets that got the most engagement, giving marketers ideas about content that has resonated in the past.
  • Event activation, which enables marketers to launch ad campaigns targeting events with one click. Event targeting can be combined with other Twitter ad targeting features such as gender, language and device.


The calendar should be quite useful. In the past, Twitter has dabbled with aids to help businesses plan around events. For instance, its small and medium business team in the United Kingdom still maintains an #OwnTheMoment editorial calendar with UK-focused events. Twitter’s Small Business Planner app also had a basic event calendar, but it’s apparently no longer available in the iOS and Android app stores.

Event targeting — available to all Twitter advertisers globally — is more fully baked. To access the feature, log in to and select “Event calendar’’ from the Tools menu.

Although targeting insights will focus on historical data, ads — in the form of promoted tweets — will be pushed only to people who are engaged with the current event, said Ameet Ranadive, Twitter’s senior director of revenue products. And that, Ranadive said, means marketers will be able to reach people they were likely missing with previous campaigns. Those efforts depended on manual research and compiling lists of relevant terms.

“They would have to identify hashtags and keywords themselves,” Ranadive told Marketing Land. “And when they were doing it manually, the tendency would probably be to pick the most popular ones, and they might have missed out on a bunch of other ones coming up around the event.”

Now marketers will be able to tweak their content based on prior results and then turn targeting over to Twitter’s algorithm. That should prove popular with advertisers, but what about Twitter users? Won’t they be annoyed by the intrusion of extra advertising during events?

Ranadive said event targeting uses Twitter’s standard ad targeting rules that limit the number of ads served to a user during a certain period of time. “Those rules guard against inundating people with too many ads,” Ranadive said.

Marketers with early access to event targeting have reported strong results, Twitter said in a blog post. Technology and insights company Social Code reported 17.95% engagement and a 10 cents per engagement rate for a CGP client using the tool during a live event. And digital marketing agency Mindshare UK targeted Wimbledon and the British Open and saw engagement rate improvements ranging from 73% to 110% when compared to traditional targeting settings.


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