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Twitter opens up interest-based ad feature after successful beta test

Advertisers will be able to target Twitter users based on who they follow and their interests

Twitter will allow advertisers to target users based on their interests following a successful test of a new advertising feature, the company said on Thursday.

The feature adds to Twitter's other advertising offerings, including Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts and Promoted Trends, as it seeks to make the platform productive for advertisers while not alienating its users.

During the beta test, advertisers saw "high engagement rates because they are reaching users who are interested in their content," wrote Kevin Weil, director of product management. "Given these early results, we're excited to make interest targeting available today."

Advertisers will be able to do two kinds of interest targeting. They can target tweets at users who fall into some 350 categories they're interested in, such as "science," "animation, "movies and radio" and more.

More precise targeting can be achieved with "custom segments," where an advertisers can associate certain "@usernames" that are relevant to their product or service with their campaign.

That kind of targeting, however, does not allow for specific targeting of the followers of the particular @username specified, Weil wrote.

"If you're promoting your indie band's next tour, you can create a custom audience by adding @usernames of related bands, thus targeting users with the same taste in music," he wrote. "This new feature will help you reach beyond your followers and users with similar interests and target the most relevant audience for your campaign."

In other news, Weil wrote that Twitter was dropping its minimum bid for its Promoted products, which are sold by action, to $.01. The new lower bid, Weil wrote, will mean a better return on investment for advertisers and their campaigns.

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