Twitter will bring its logged-out ads to the mobile web in Q2
With brands paying "nearly" as much for clicks on ads shown to logged-out users as logged-in ones, Twitter will stop limiting those ads to the desktop web.
Twitter’s ready to start making money from more of its logged-out audience.
Sometime during the second quarter of 2016, Twitter plans to start showing ads to people who visit its mobile site without logging into a Twitter account. The social network — ahem, news company — disclosed its plan in a regulatory filing released on Tuesday.
A Twitter spokesperson declined to give a more specific timeline for the mobile web expansion.
Twitter had started showing ads to its logged-out visitors in December 2015 but limited the first phase of the test to desktop visitors. At the time, Twitter said the majority of its logged-out audience of more than 500 million people was visiting its site on desktop. But Twitter makes most of its ad money — 88 percent in the first quarter — and sees most of its monthly logged-in audience of 310 million people — 83 percent in Q1 — on mobile. So it was only a matter of time before Twitter would bring this part of its business to mobile.
During Twitter’s first-quarter earnings call last week, COO Adam Bain touted how its logged-out ads have performed so far. The amount of money that brands paid each time someone clicked on their ads is “nearly identical” between the ads Twitter showed logged-in and logged-out visitors, Bain said. That stat “is a good indication from advertisers that they’re seeing good value from logged-out experiences,” he said, before acknowledging that Twitter needed to offer advertisers more logged-out impressions in order to buoy interest.
But it’s not only more eyeballs that Twitter may need to gin up interest from media buyers. Social networks like Twitter and Facebook have been able to open up brands’ wallets by selling them not only on the size of their audiences, but also on what they know about those audiences. For example, Twitter can look at the accounts a logged-in user follows or engages with, see that a lot of them are NBA players and teams and bucket that person into an audience to sell to brands that want to reach the same types of people who are tuning into the NBA playoffs on TV. Twitter can’t do that as confidently with someone who only saw one tweet about LeBron James.
Twitter targets ads to its logged-out visitors based on the specific tweet or profile page they came to view. That single tweet or profile page is a strong enough signal of someone’s interest that Twitter uses it to bundle its logged-out and logged-in visitors into the same target audience. “A marketer who’s targeting keywords or interests, for example, on Twitter will be able to have that campaign extend across into logged-out Twitter,” Bain told me back in December.
But media buyers may not be so comfortable equating Twitter’s logged-in and logged-out audiences. Here’s what Gila Wilensky, search and biddable director at WPP-owned agency Essence, had to say about Twitter’s logged-out ads in March when I interviewed her for a story about Twitter’s standing with advertisers.
“We want to reach logged-in users who send a lot of signals so we can target in the best way possible and make the best experience for them and give them the right ads based on their interests and their behavior. I don’t think that is necessarily the best use of media dollars, to get someone who is a super-light Twitter user who’s just looking at one thing that we don’t have much data on them,” Wilensky said at the time.