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Twitter soups up mobile ads with location data from Foursquare

Twitter?s announcement that it will soon enable tweets to be tagged with a specific location in partnership with Foursquare could make advertising on the platform much more powerful by enabling marketers to reach the right customer at the right time and place.

Thanks to the recently announced partnership, marketers will be able to deliver ads to a user based on their specific location inside a retail store, for example. While the move is a big enhancement to Twitter?s mobile advertising offerings, the platform?s monetization strategy faces growing competition from a number of programmatic and geo-location based offerings as well as marketers? challenges proving out the return-on-investment for some mobile strategies.  

?This is pretty significant news,? said Tushar Parashar, engagement manager at Vivaldi Partners Group. ?Adding location-based intelligence makes Twitter advertising much more powerful.

?Twitter can now target the ?right customer? at the ?right place and time? with much more accuracy,? he said. ?For example, a customer who spends a lot of time in SoHo tweeting is a perfect target to be advertised with fashion apparel compared to an average New Yorker.

?Twitter can also control when to advertise now. For example, as soon as you tweet from Bloomingdales, Twitter can serve you an ad about the best coffee shop around.?

Monetizing mobile
Twitter said this week that users will soon be able to add a location to their tweets. This will include a general location label such as ?SoMa, San Francisco.?

In select locations, iOS and Android users will also be able label their Tweet with the name of a specific business, landmark or other point of interest. These locations are provided by Foursquare.

On Twitter for Android or Twitter for iOS, the tweet will also include a precise location, such as the coordinates of the street intersection from where the tweet was sent in addition to the selected location label.

The move is an important step forward for Twitter, which sees the majority of its traffic and monetization on mobile.

Better targeting
Given that mobile phones travel with users pretty much everywhere they go, location data is a significant piece of data that can help marketers significantly enhance the relevancy of their messaging. However, until now, Twitter has focused on coordinates rather than actual places. 

?Twitter will now be able to provide advertisers with greater insights and targeting options,? said Sean Cullen, executive vice president of Fluent

?For instance, McDonald's could now see how users are engaging within their walls rather than just with their Twitter account,? he said.

The move also opens up a new way for users to engage with brands and provide subtle endorsements. 

?Users now have the option to display this data with their followers,? Mr. Cullen said. ?Brands with bricks-and-mortar locations will benefit from increased visibility and subtle endorsements when users tweet to their followers. 

?Tweets providing the store and location where a product or service is available will also raise brand awareness and availability,? he said.

Where to invest
One of the main challenges Twitter will face is convincing marketers that they need this service, given the growing number of options available for programmatic and geo-location advertising.

Marketers struggling to figure out where to invest their digital dollars are also looking for ways to assess the effectiveness of these strategies.

?Marketers are already struggling to ?measure? new advertising vehicle?s effectiveness ? e.g. Facebook, Twitter ? as traditional econometric modeling fails to properly measure them compared to traditional media such as TV,? Vivaldi Partners Group?s Mr. Parashar said. ?So a big challenge for Twitter would be to convince them of their effectiveness in driving overall brand choice and ultimately sales. 

?No doubt, there will be marketers who will start allocating more budget to Twitter, but I believe this would not be at the cost of other media such as TV. It would probably be a switch of dollars from other online advertising channels to Twitter.?

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