In addition to rolling out the Web analytics package for selected websites earlier today, officials at Twitter quietly started pushing its form of advertising, otherwise known as promoted tweets, into the feeds of users. Despite previous plans to only insert promoted tweets into feeds of users that follow the brand involved in the promotion, all users will see advertising within the feed regardless of following status. Brands running the promotion can specifically target users based on data collected from the Twitter graph. Using a collection of data points, a brand or company can target users that retweet frequently or perhaps have a large number of influential followers.
When promoted tweets were announced in late July, the original intention was to use the platform to advertise only to Twitter users that follow the brand in question to limit negative reactions to advertising appearing in the feed. After the change in policy, Twitter will be slowly rolling out the new advertising to all users and is starting with a small portion of users, specifically less than 10 percent of the Twitter population. Twitter users won’t be able to opt-out of the program, but rather click dismiss on the promoted tweet to delete it from the timeline. When a user logs in, the promoted tweet appears at the top of the timeline and gradually falls off the page when new tweets are updated into the feed from other Twitter users.
Companies participating in the promoted tweets program include Microsoft, Yahoo!, Lexus, American Express, AMC Theatres, Sephora, Red Bull, Movietickets.com, Best Western, HP, Disney and Lionsgate. This move allows advertisers to reach a much broader audience than simply the people following a particular brand. While unconfirmed from Twitter officials, the program likely allows advertisers to recruit new followers to multiple Twitter accounts. For instance, Lionsgate may want to recruit followers into the Twitter account for an upcoming film rather than the official company Twitter account.