Twitter doesn’t mention it in their intro post but according to Mashable and Statista, 78% of Twitter users are based outside the US. Since 2010, international growth has way outpaced US growth 745% to 390%.
Let’s take a moment to think about 745% growth. Insane. But it makes me wonder why Twitter didn’t mention that on their blog. Are they worried that the US-centric advertising audience won’t like that the vast majority of players are living on the other side of the ocean?
Not that everyone in the US speaks English as their first language. The Census Bureau says that the number of people who speak a foreign language in their household has tripled since 1980 in the US. And 38 million people speak Spanish at home. After that, there’s Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian, Persian, Armenian, Korean and Tagalog.
When you look at my home state of California, 44% of the population speaks a language other than English at home.
So, let’s put aside the notion that language-targeted advertising is only for global companies. If you’re doing business in a large urban, population center, chances are a good portion of your customers would feel more comfortable with ads in their native language.
Back to Twitter.
Going forward brands with Promoted Tweets or Promoted Accounts will be able to target users in one of 20 different languages. You can combine this type of targeting with other options such as geolocation and gender to reach exactly the right audience.
For instance, a travel brand that wants to reach Spanish-speaking travelers in the U.S. can combine U.S. geo-targeting, travel-category interest targeting and Spanish language targeting to effectively connect with their target audience.
I assumed that Twitter uses a person’s chosen Twitter language to determine a good fit. But check this out:
We use a number of different signals to determine a user’s language, including the language selected in a user’s profile settings and the languages that correspond to a user’s activity on Twitter. A user can be targetable by multiple languages if we infer that a user is multilingual.
Languages that correspond to a user’s activity? Meaning, Twitter can scan all your Tweets to see if you’re speaking English or Spanish or whatever? Interesting. Not that I expect my Tweets to be private but I am surprised Twitter is going through the trouble of looking for other languages even if I check the box that says I speak only English.