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Data crucial to Twitter's efforts to increase advertising revenue will come in part from Little Rock.

On Thursday, Acxiom announced it is expanding its partnership with Twitter. Companies looking to advertise on the social network now will be able to target customers in 135 different Acxiom-created categories.

The data would allow a company to show an ad to Twitter users who might be interested in a certain product, like a new car.

"This is about Acxiom understanding highly granular demographics," said Paul Jones, a clinical professor in the University of North Carolina School of Information and Library Science and director of ibiblio, a contributor-run, digital library. "Data is good, but what they're really smart about is getting to the granular level where they can predict behavior."

Acxiom first announced a partnership with Twitter in January 2014. The company collaborated with the social network on technology that would allow an advertiser to match a database of customers with Twitter users.

A company could use the technology to target ads on Twitter to people who sign up for an email mailing list, for example.

"We have seen tremendous results from clients who have used first party and Acxiom data, for targeting ad campaigns on Twitter," said Dana Hayes Jr., group vice president of global partner development at Acxiom, in a statement. "Behavior targeting will offer another way for advertisers to have access to Acxiom data sets and scale, for precisely targeting customers and prospects on Twitter."

The move comes as the tracking cookie -- the traditional method businesses use to track customer behavior on a single computer -- becomes less effective.

According to a report on Acxiom's website, as more people connect to the Internet on more devices, companies have a harder time piecing together how computer, cellphone and tablet use trace back to a single person.

Facebook, Twitter's chief rival, is about "presentation of self," Jones said. Because Facebook asks what users like, how old they are, where they live and other personal information, it's easy to target ads to users -- even across many devices.

"The hard part is -- on Twitter -- you have to get someone's picture based on who they follow and what they post about," he said. "Over time, you can derive a lot of information from that."

In a news release, Acxiom said Twitter advertisers are using data from both companies to target users who might want to buy specific products.

"Acxiom is one of only two they chose out of hundreds of companies to have the data integrated within their [user interface]," said Ines Gutzmer, spokesman for the company. "The difference really is now we are providing brands -- who want to run a campaign -- to have access to our data directly through Twitter."

Since Twitter went public in November 2013, the company has made improving advertisement revenue a top priority. In the last quarter of 2014, the company had revenue of $479 million -- more than double that of the same quarter a year before.

The company is doing particularly well on mobile advertisements, an area that frustrates its peers, analysts note.

Jones said collecting user information -- a common practice online -- poses privacy concerns, but provides more relevant information.

"If you're using something for free, then you're the product," he said. "But it's kind of nice to see some things I actually want."

Business on 03/06/2015

Print Headline: Acxiom data tailor ads to Twitter users

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