Twitter rolls out ‘adverts’ in user timelines
Twitter has started rolling out promoted tweets, its own form of advertising, into peoples’ personal timelines.
Earlier this year, the site, which had famously resisted commercialising the product for four years since its launch, announced its advertising initiative, which would see brands pay to have their sponsored tweets appear throughout the site.
However, until now, these advertising messages, have only appeared around Twitter’s search engine and in the ‘Trends’ column.
Initially only certain Twitter users who access the site through the HootSuite, a third party Twitter client and social media dashboard, will start to see the adverts appear in their timeline.
Matt Graves, a Twitter communications executive, wrote on the company blog: “We want to display promoted tweets in a way that’s both useful and authentic to the Twitter experience.
"During this testing period with HootSuite, we will experiment with where and when promoted tweets are shown in the timeline. Not all HootSuite users will see promoted tweets and those who do may see different promoted tweets in different places in their timeline.
“As with promoted tweets in search, we will display promoted tweets in the timeline when they are relevant. Similar to our promoted account recommendations, we use several signals to determine a promoted tweet’s relevance to a user, including the public list of whom they follow. We will expand the rollout only when we feel we're delivering a high-quality user experience.”
Twitter first announced promoted tweets in April earlier this year. At the time Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, summarised them as “ordinary tweets that businesses and organisations want to highlight to a wider group of users”.
A poll conducted soon after the announcement found that nearly 70pc of UK Twitter users were unhappy with the idea of promoted tweets.
The research, which was conducted by discount website, Groupola, and polled 1,219 UK Twitter users, found that 68pc of those interviewed were upset about the idea of branded tweets entering their personal feeds.
Twitter is now focusing on commercialising the service around the world with plans to open a London office next year.
When promoted tweets began, it was in conjunction with many US-centric brands, such as Starbucks, and now the company wants to entice more European brands to come on board.
Co-founder Evan Williams recently stood down as chief executive, in order to solely focus on product development and was replaced by Dick Costolo, formerly the company’s chief operating officer.
Costolo’s promotion was seen by the wider technology community as a sign of the company prioritising the generation of revenues.