This kind of radius-based geo-fencing could potentially be
useful for the likes of a pharmacy chain like Walgreens or even a
quick-serve restaurant like McDonald's. It's for marketers who are
looking to drive up their in-store traffic with the carrot of a
deal or a special, or just by tipping people off to their presence
in the immediate vicinity.
Though a release at the end of the year would make the product
available for holiday retailers -- a potentially lucrative customer
base -- it also seems subject to delay. Twitter currently only
allows for ads to be targeted to specific metro areas and doesn't
drill down to zip codes as Facebook has since 2011. Presumably zip
code targeting is on Twitter's product roadmap and would be shipped
before a tighter form of targeting is.
Twitter declined to comment on the product or the timing of its
release. The company has been on a recent tear of putting new ad
products into market -- such as keyword targeting to show ads to
users who've tweeted a certain term and targeting for TV advertisers who also want to reach
people who've tweeted about a specific TV show.
As the mobile ad market grows, so does the yen for targeting to
make those ads more contextually relevant. It explains why Starcom MediaVest
Group recently partnered with the startup PlaceIQ, which provides granular location
data to help power mobile ads, to study the correlation between consumers seeing
a mobile banner ad and walking into a store.
Sephora's VP-interactive media Bridget Dolan says geo-targeted
Twitter ads could be used to alert people to in-store events and to
new brands that have recently been made available in stores. While
she notes that Sephora has historically used social-media
advertising "extraordinarily sparingly," geo-targeted tweets could
prompt a larger investment in Twitter ads.
"Whether you're looking at your phone because something popped
up from [Apple's] Passbook or you're on Twitter, I think geo-local
is going to help drive store traffic," Ms. Dolan said.