Last week, we ran an article asking how well you know your Facebook targeting options. Aside from covering the key targeting options you have available on the network, we wanted to show the potential of what you can achieve with targeted social ads.

This week it’s Twitter’s turn and – although it doesn’t get as much recognition as Facebook for its targeting prowess – you might be surprised by how much the network offers. So let’s see how well you know your Twitter targeting options!

The basics – location, language and demographics

The first targeting option you want to see on any ad platform is location targeting – and Twitter doesn’t disappoint. The network allows you to tap into 200 global markets at the country level and it’s quicker to name the countries you can’t target – Russia and China being the big markets missing.

As for most of Europe, North America, Australia, Japan and much of South America you can also target people by region, city and post codes.

Next up, you have language targeting, where you can do the following:

  • Target all languages (default)
  • Limit the number of languages (eg: select Spanish, French and English)
  • Target only one language (eg: Spanish only)

Of course, you can combine this with location targeting to reach Spanish speakers in Argentina specifically or New York’s Italian-speaking community. On the demographics side of things you can also target users by gender but age targeting is limited to a select number of advertisers at this stage.

For more information on location, language and demographic targeting on Twitter you can visit the Twitter for Business page.

Keyword targeting on Twitter

Something unique to twitter advertising is the ability to target users based on words they’ve recently Tweeted or searched for on the network. This is Twitter’s version of keyword targeting but it’s different in nature to what you’ll be used to doing in AdWords.

The most important word in the paragraph above is “recently”, because keyword targeting on Twitter allows you to pinpoint users who your ads are most relevant to right now. Timing is everything on Twitter and getting your ads seen by people who are showing an interest in your business at this time is vital.

For more info on Twitter keyword targeting, here’s the official explanation.


Device targeting on Twitter

Big surprise, it turns out most Twitter users access the network from their mobile devices – 80% of all users, according to the network.

With this in mind, it’s good to know you can target mobile users with your ads, but there’s more to device targeting on Twitter than you might expect. Aside from segmenting by device you can also target people based on the following:


  • Operating system (iOS, Android, etc.)
  • Specific device
  • Wifi connectivity
  • Mobile carrier
  • New devices


So that last option, for example, means you can target people using Twitter from a recently purchased mobile or tablet. You can target them with ads to encourage them to download your app while they’re still excited about filling their internal memory with new applications.

Interest and behaviour targeting on Twitter

While Facebook users are pretty passive in their user habits, people are largely active on Twitter. Although it doesn’t boast the same volume of monthly users as FB, those who do use Twitter go there to actively participate in conversations about their interests.

Cue interest and behaviour targeting.

Interest targeting on Twitter starts with a list of 25 interest categories, including:

Automotive, Beauty, Books and literature, Business, Careers, Education, Events, Family and parenting; Food and drink; Gaming, Health, Hobbies and interests; Home and garden; Law, government and politics; Life stages, Movies and television; Music and radio; Personal finance, Pets, Science, Society, Style and fashion; Technology and computing; and Travel.

 Yes, that’s a pretty long list but we haven’t even scratched the surface yet. Each interest category breaks down into a number of sub-topics for you to pinpoint more specific interests – a whopping 350 sub-topics in total. We won’t go in to them all now but here’s what you’ll find under Automotive alone:


  • All of Automotive
  • Automotive news and general info
  • Car culture
  • Convertibles
  • Hybrid and electric vehicles
  • Luxury
  • Minivans
  • Motorcycles
  • Offroad vehicles
  • Performance vehicles
  • Sedans
  • SUVs
  • Trucks
  • Vintage cars


That gives you a good idea of how granular you can get with Twitter interest targeting. And, considering users turn to Twitter to keep up-to-date with news and updates on their favourite interests, you can easily get in on the conversations as they happen.

Next up we have behaviour targeting and this is designed to tap into users’ actions outside Twitter. As the network itself puts it: “Behavior [sic] targeting enables you to reach audiences on Twitter based on their shopping behavior, lifestyle, and other key attributes.”

It’s worth noting that behaviour targeting only works for campaigns for the UK and US, but we imagine Twitter will roll this out for other markets in the near future. Anyway, assuming you select the UK or US as your target market, you can then choose from the following behaviour categories:

  • Automotive: Target new or recent car buyers
  • CPG: Target regular buyers of specific packaged good (eg: drinks, food, health and beauty, etc.)
  • Demographics: Target people by household composition, “lifestage”, marital status, mums and presence of children.
  • Finance: Charity givers, credit card users, home insurance customers, household income, investment activity, loan users, property investors.
  • Household: Length of residency, home ownership, property type
  • Insurance: Building insurance renewal, car insurance renewal, Contents insurance renewal.
  • Lifestyles: Amateur photographers, avid readers, current affairs, DIYers, fashionistas, foodies, football enthusiasts, healthy & fit, high spenders, mainstream buyers, music fans, newspaper readers, nightlife enthusiasts, online shoppers, outdoor enthusiasts, pet owners, premium buyers, restaurant goers, value buyers.
  • Media: Newspaper readership
  • Retail: Children product buyers, entertainment buyers, fashion clothing buyers, general purchase behaviour, gift & garden buyers, luxury brand buyers, pet supply buyers, speciality food & beverage buyers.
  • Technology: Entertainment buyers, internet or cable, technology level in the household.
  • Travel: Holidays and travel by region (eg: Europe, Aisa, etc.)

 Again, most of those activities break up into various sub-activities which gives you thousands of targeting targeting combinations between interests and offline behaviours.

Tailored audiences on Twitter

The targeting options we’ve looked at so far are what you’ll normally use to introduce your brand to new people. But we all know users who’ve already shown an interest in your business are the most likely to make the final purchase – and this is where tailored audiences come into Twitter’s targeting mix.

Welcome to Twitter’s equivalent of remarketing and there are three main strategies for you to choose or combine:

  • Lists allow you to target users based on your own lists of email addresses or Twitter usernames.
  • Web helps you target people who visited your site after clicking on your Twitter ads.
  • Mobile apps mean you can target people who take certain actions inside your mobile app.

With tailored audiences you’ll be creating lists based on your user data and either including or excluding them from your remarketing campaigns. For example, you might want to create a campaign for people who haven’t used your mobile app recently with ads to encourage them back.

Follower targeting on Twitter

The last targeting option we’re going to look at today is a good one – so stay with us! Follower targeting on Twitter allows you to target people based on the accounts they follow. And, while that might sound pretty self-explanatory it’s a lot more exciting than it sounds.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Competitors: Target people following your competitors and similar brands to yourself.
  • Complimentary brands: Target people following brands that aren’t competitors but suggest they might be interested in yours.
  • Industry media: Target users based on the media names their following (eg: fitness magazines for home gym equipment suppliers).
  • Influencers: Target people following the influential people in your industry.
  • Similar audiences: Target people who are similar to those who already follow you.

So Twitter makes it nice and easy to expand your reach in a highly targeted way by pinching followers from other accounts – great! And, as always with these targeting options, the right combination can help you pinpoint very specific user intents and craft your ad message to meet their needs.

That’s all for our look at Twitter’s targeting options and it’s been quite a read to make it this far – well done! But we’re not done yet. Next up, we’ll be asking how well you know your LinkedIn targeting options, so stay tuned!