Twitter's Audience API: Tweeting Image

Twitter’s Audience API. A Great Start, But it Has a Ways to Go

A recent MediaPost piece entitled Twitter Offers Audience API to All Brands, announced the broad release of its Audience API.  The release was designed in response to brand requests to better define and describe audiences of interest, with demographics.

We applaud any initiative of this type that helps improve brand/consumer intimacy and engagement.

But for Twitter, this feels like a first step.

The Twitter Audience API, offering retrieval of demographics across ten user models, while insightful, isn’t exactly bleeding edge stuff.  What’s more interesting is its ability to give brands access to Twitter IDs based on specific topics, conversations or (current) events, and most interestingly, access to users that interact with the brand. Specifically, brands can access users that have interacted with a brand’s organic or owned content over the last 90 days, and those that have visited their Website as a result.

OK, knowing user engagement with a brand and a bit of the customer journey is somewhat helpful, but what’s a brand supposed to do with it? Why are they engaging with the brand?   What’s motivating the engagement?  What messages and other channels should they consider using as a result?  In short, this level of behavioral knowledge gives brands little more than what’s been available in the cookie world for years.

So what could make this better?  Knowing the consumers’ motivation, that’s what.

Understanding what topics and conversations Twitter users engage in helps, but this content is often perishable and doesn’t require much user commitment. What would really help the Audience API would be for Twitter to understand what users are passionately interested in and care about, and the best way to get to that level of knowledge is to uncover what they’re most committed to.  The best way to do that, is to know the events and activities they invest their personal time to physically attend—offline, in the real world.  And mobile, location-based customer insights are they key to this powerful insight.

So Twitter, we do applaud your Audience API and the value its providing brands.  But to make it essential, you need to take the next step, by identifying user commitment to let brands know how to engage with users at a truly personal level.