In a bid to increase advertiser reach and boost revenue, Twitter has begun allowing brands to inject ads into the timelines of non-followers.
The move is a significant evolution of the Promoted Tweets platform, which launched in 2010 but until now has restricted each advertiser's potential reach to consumers who have followed the brand. That in turn has stunted Twitter's revenue growth.
Now advertisers will be able to augment their addressable audience by targeting users who Twitter decides have matching interests to their existing followers. But the pickings will be slim at first, as Twitter restricts the initial rollout to less than 10 percent of its global users.
"Of this group, we will only show Promoted Tweets to people from advertisers relevant to their interests," it said in a statement. "We are carefully measuring how users respond to and engage with these Tweets; based on this response, we will roll this capability out to a wider audience in the coming months."
The first advertisers to try the new platform are predominantly entertainment and cinema brands - companies like MovieTickets.com, Disney, Yahoo, Lionsgate, and AMC Theaters. Non-media brands include American Express, Sephora, and Red Bull.
Late last week Twitter announced it has crossed 100 million monthly active users around the world, who collectively author - or retweet - 230 million messages a day.
Almost as gob-smacking are the legions of active users who don't tweet. Forty million have not made a peep in the last month, despite logging in routinely, suggesting Twitter's content appeal is almost as strong as its social appeal. Among the entertainment franchises and celebrities using it are every NFL team, every top 50 Nielsen-rated TV show, 93 percent of Food Network chefs, and 75 percent of NBA players.
Also Coming: Better Analytics for Websites
Separately, Twitter said today it will soon give site owners more visibility into the traffic it's driving to their properties. It will track data-points such as the amount of traffic Twitter drives overall; the extent to which Twitter users are sharing a site's content; and the effectiveness of a website's Tweet button integration.
The new offering is based in part on BackType, a company Twitter acquired in July. Twitter added it will eventually create an analytics API for developers who want to incorporate Twitter data in their products.
Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects.
June 20, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT