Twitter Follows Facebook, Adds Purchase-Based Targeting

Nestle's Butterfinger Tested the System Featuring Acxiom and Datalogix Data

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It happens on Facebook and now it will happen on Twitter. Twitter unveiled an extension of its relationships with Acxiom and Datalogix it's calling Partner Audiences. The system will let brands target ads on Twitter based on past user purchases or demographic data such as household income, in addition to helping extend campaigns to Twitter users with similar characteristics.

Nestle tried out the product when it launched Butterfinger Cup Minis, aiming ads to candy addicts who buy peanut butter-flavored goodies at grocery and convenience stores, according to a Twitter blog post about the new targeting capability.

Facebook launched a similar program two years ago with the same partners, along with Epsilon. Like that offering, the Twitter system will match its users with people in partner databases using hashed or de-identified email addresses and other data associated with their Twitter accounts.

Through Twitter's ad campaign system, advertisers can choose from more than 1,000 audience categories based on Acxiom and Datalogix segments. Consumers are lumped into broad categories according to purchase behavior under headings such as auto, CPG, finance, lifestyles, retail brands and travel. An advertiser looking to reach CPG product buyers can whittle down the audience to people who have purchased energy drinks or k-cup refills.

Twitter users can opt-out from the program by unchecking the box in their privacy settings labeled, "Tailor ads based on information shared by ad partners."

Twitter has released a flurry of products in recent months, both on its ad and consumer side. Although user growth has stalled, the company's ad business is swelling: last quarter, its revenue hit $432 million, a 97% uptick.

Still, Twitter may be feeling the heat from its larger peer. A report from Bloomberg this week said Facebook is plotting building a mobile-ad exchange that would compete with Twitter's MoPub.

Mark Bergen contributed to this story.