As Twitter raises even more money, it’s getting more serious about making money. The service is set to start showing ads in users’ “timelines” within the next month, following through on plans it has talked about for more than a year.
Twitter is pushing a new ad product called “Promoted Tweets To Followers,” set to launch by early August.
Twitter has been selling “Promoted Tweet” ads, which look and act like regular Tweets, for more than a year. But it’s entirely possible for most users to spend all day on Twitter.com and never see one, since they usually only show up when a user searches for a particular term.
That’s created an inventory problem for CEO Dick Costolo and his sales team, since Twitter users don’t use search in the same way Google users do.
“Promoted Tweets To Followers” are supposed to help solve that problem in two ways. They allow brands to send messages directly to people who have already said they care about them — that is, Starbucks can target people who are already following Starbucks on Twitter. And they can ensure that Starbucks’ followers actually see the ad, by inserting them at the top of their timelines.
…Twitter executives say that one day, they’ll have a targeting system that allows marketers to find receptive audiences for their ads even if they don’t search for certain terms or follow their brands. But that’s not happening anytime soon.
The new iteration of promoted tweets, called “Promoted Tweets to Followers,” isn’t exactly like the old version. These paid tweets will now appear in Twitter timelines but won’t stick to the top like gobs of off-brand peanut butter.
Also, these promoted tweets will only appear to people who are already following a brand, meaning if you’re following Dunkin’ Donuts and not Starbucks, you won’t receive in-your-face ads from Starbucks.