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Why mobile retargeting on Twitter is better than on Facebook or Google

While mobile retargeting was already picking up steam, Twitter?s entry with a cross-channel strategy addressing the challenges in using Web cookies for mobile tracking could attract more dollars to from brands.

Twitter said last week that it is making tailored audiences available globally after several months of testing with brands such as HubSpot and Delta Air Lines. Working with several ad partners, brands will be able to share desktop cookie information with Twitter so they can target the social network?s users with promoted tweets, targeting those who have previously visited the brand?s Web site.

?The opportunities are truly massive for Twitter,? said Kurt Lohse, vice president of marketing for Poptent.

?In relation to Facebook, Twitter has a key advantage since Facebook will struggle with the privacy aspect of retargeting since most people use FB for private social network messaging and not necessarily for open public amplification,? he said. ?This is why public push back is so aggressive with FB?s early retargeting efforts.

?Twitter?s mobile retargeting and keyword targeting will be a serious competitor to Google?s similar ad products on the Web. And as mobile continues to draw more and more usage, increased shopping transactions, increased pre-shopping research, etc., this move is probably the revenue channel opening that will launch Twitter into the stratosphere.?

Mobile retargeting grows
The news from Twitter is an example of the growing focus on mobile retargeting this year. Google, Facebook and others have been working to offer mobile retargeting services that will attract advertisers? dollars.

However, one of the big challenges with retargeting in mobile is that Web cookies are basically unusable to track mobile Web browsing.

Twitter is addressing this challenge by partnering with ad tech companies to link Web browsing on desktop with specific Twitter users on mobile. The social networks partners include AdRoll, BlueKai, Chango, DataXu, Dstillery, Lotame, Quantcast, ValueClick, and [x+1].

?Twitter's move into retargeting is potentially a very significant development for ad tech,? Monica Ho, vice president of marketing at xAd, New York. ?Bolstered by the success of Facebook?s ad exchange, Twitter has identified and brought to market a mobile workaround that bypasses the need for what has been a major obstacle for our industry - cookies.

?When you consider the scale of their audience, you automatically have advertisers? attention,? she said. ?But adding the cross-channel ability into the mix is what?s really interesting ? the potential for Twitter is grabbing ad dollars from both channels.

?Twitter will also benefit from fast advertiser adoption, which will power quicker optimization and product refinement.?

A necessary step
The news is just the latest example of how Twitter is looking to build itself into a major mobile advertising player. The social network also recently purchased MoPub, a mobile ad serving platform and real-time bidding exchange.

While these moves point to Twitter?s significant strides in mobile advertising this year, the company still lacks a well-rounded set of offerings.

?I think Twitter will have capitalized on their mobile opportunity when they have strong products at every level of the funnel from branding, to consideration to conversion to demand fulfillment, for everyone of those marketing objectives,? Eric Bader, chief marketing officer of RadiumOne, San Francisco.

?Then they will really be able to start taking money from competitors or from other marketing objectives outside of mobile and outside of digital,? he said. ?That is when they will see their major uptick in mobile ad revenue.

?For now, this is a good move, but it is still just a tactical piece.?

Privacy concerns
By leveraging Twitter for retargeting, a company such as Delta Air Lines can hone in on a specific audience such as recent flight searchers or recent flight bookers and continue a conversation with them on their mobile devices while they are on the go.

The initial results are promising from Twitter test for the program. For example, HubSpot saw a 45 percent lift in engagement rates by retargeting Twitter mobile users.

One of the Twitter?s challenges with this strategy will be addressing consumers? privacy concerns.

Twitter is attempting to deal with privacy concerns by enabling users to uncheck the box next to ?Promoted content? in their privacy settings. When they do, Twitter will not match their account to information shared by ads partners for tailoring ads.

Additionally, Twitter will not receive cookie information from its ad partners for users who have Do Not Track enabled in their browser.

While linking desktop Web browsing with mobile social use is an important step in helping marketers achieve cross-channel strategies, the next challenge for Twitter and others will be tying mobile use back to real-world consumer behavior so marketers can determine the return on investment for their efforts.

?Leveraging user behaviors conducted on desktop to retarget on mobile will suffice as a first step, but adding the value of location intelligence to further enhance their retargeting capabilities is potentially enormous,? xAd?s Ms. Ho said.

?The opportunity for brands to retarget on mobile is already showing signs of exploding,? she said. ?Brands are already seeing the value of identifying consumers who have recently visited their stores, and retargeting them in other locations at a later time.

?So expect retargeting to become an even bigger part of the mobile strategy going forward, especially paired with the ability to tie it back to desktop.?

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York