This past week, Twitter took a page out of Google’s book and introduced broad match keyword targeting . For AdWords veterans, this concept is nothing new. Twitter’s new match type will extend the reach of promoted tweets to capture an audience that uses terms similar or related to the target keyword.
According to Twitter, a broad keyword “matches on tweets containing keywords in any order, including other words in between … related terms, stem variations, synonyms, misspellings and slang.” For example, if the keyword is “love cats,” promoted tweets could appear for people who are tweeting or interacting with tweets that contain “adore cats” or “luv my kittens” etc.
Image via Twitter
This broad match format may sound familiar to AdWords advertisers, but there is one key difference between Google’s and Twitter’s definitions of broad match. In AdWords, a broad match keyword  will match to a search query that contains at least one of the terms in the keyword. With Twitter, it seems that all words (or variations of them) must appear within the tweets. In other words, Twitter’s broad match feature is not as broad as Google’s.
To be honest, I’m surprised that it’s taken the Twitter team this long to implement broad match. Given the social context of the Twitter platform and the 140 characters per tweet limit, it is common to see tweets containing slang and abbreviations. In the past, if advertisers were not aware of twitter lingo, they could be missing out on a huge portion of their target demographic. Even if they knew the different terminology, they were required to set each variation as a keyword, which is quite an endeavor.
When Twitter announced this new advertising feature, they revealed that it is now the default match type for new campaigns. I must admit that, when I first read the announcement, I was a tad suspicious of whether their intentions were really customer-centric (maybe I’m permanently scarred from experiences with AdWords). The more I think about it, I actually applaud Twitter for implementing this feature. I expect that it will make it easier for advertisers to execute successful Twitter campaigns that actually connect with their target audience. Of course, advertisers will need to pay close attention to their performance and set negative keywords when appropriate.
Not convinced that broad match is the best route for you?
Do not despair—you can avoid broadening your keyword matches by adding a “+” modifier before any keywords that you do not want to expand. In fact, Twitter has automatically added a modifier to advertisers’ existing campaigns, keeping your keywords at the status quo until you adjust them.
What does this mean for Twitter users?
Stay calm, Twitterverse, your experience will remain largely unchanged. Twitter has vowed that the new match type setting will not change the frequency of ads shown to users. Plus, we will continue to have the option to dismiss Promoted Tweets that we do not find relevant.