Twitter to Display Ads on User Pages

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Today Twitter is to begin displaying ads to individual stream users as the company expands its ad platform, Promoted Tweets.

Similar to the existing Twitter Search promoted ads, the new advertisements will be targeted primarily by using keywords so it serves only ad topics that are relevant to the users. However these ads will be shown in limited numbers initially since they will be delivered as a test using third-party tool HootSuite.

Twitter first launched its ad service in April of this year to begin monetizing the more than 100 million people who use the microbloging platform. Initial ads were limited to being displayed on only search result pages on Twitter, and subsequently began showing ads in trending topics as well.

In October, Twitter released Promoted Accounts that advertised a variety of brands’ Twitter accounts in the “Suggestions for You” section of user pages.

However this newest ad platform is expected to generate far more income for Twitter, since those earlier outlets were displayed on pages that were viewed far less than users see their own stream pages that feature the tweets of friends and brands or companies they have chosen to follow. That level of exposure could generate millions of dollars for Twitter but also risks alienating, confusing, or even angering users – much like periodic changes in ad displays on Facebook has riled up people using that service.

Twitter’s first in-stream ad partners are reported to include Virgin, Starbucks and Red Bull, who have each been part of the earlier ad platforms as well.

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Image by Matt Hamm

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