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10:24 AM

Twitter Deposits Promoted Tweets In Timelines

Partners with HootSuite to test ad messages in users' microblog feeds.

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Twitter entered phase three of its Promoted Tweets initiative on Monday, when the company began a trial program of including these advertising messages directly into users' timelines.

Initially limited to some of the approximately 900,000 users who access Twitter via HootSuite, Twitter is taking a slow and deliberate approach to the rollout, said Matt Graves, director of communications at Twitter, in a company blog.

"We're carefully looking at how Twitter users react to and engage with Promoted Tweets in the timeline. We want to display Promoted Tweets in a way that's both useful and authentic to the Twitter experience," he said. "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."

To determine whether a Promoted Tweet is pertinent to a particular accountholder, Twitter takes into consideration factors such as the public list of who they follow, Graves said.

Twitter first debuted Promoted Tweets in April, initially partnering with companies such as Best Buy, Bravo, Red Bull, Sony Pictures, Starbucks, and Virgin America on messages that appeared at the top of some search results pages. The microblogging platform later rolled out search through its partners.

In August, Twitter moved a step closer to the rollout of Promoted Tweets and Promoted Trends in third-party applications with its August 9 update to an application programming interface (API) that gives developers access to two new fields.

In June, Twitter rolled out Promoted Trends as an extension of its Promoted Tweets. A Promoted Trend is a topic that is already a Twitter trend, but one that is not yet popular enough to have arrived on the Trending Topics list; a trend that is not already popular cannot become a Promoted Trend.

And in July, the company kicked off Earlybird Exclusive Offers, an ongoing series of time-restricted deals, sneak peeks, and events promoted via the @earlybird Twitter account.

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