Promoted Tweets will now appear in the stream that users see, augmenting the Twitter search advertising the microblogging service introduced last year.
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If you follow a company on Twitter, you could soon see ads for that company's products or services in your stream of tweets.
Twitter on Thursday said that it has begun showing Promoted Tweets in users' timelines, because choosing to follow a company or organization presumably means that you want to hear more from that entity.
"That's why starting today, we're introducing a way to ensure that the most important Tweets from the organizations you follow reach you directly, by placing them at or near the top of your timeline," the company said on its blog. "These Promoted Tweets will scroll through the timeline like any other Tweet, and like regular Tweets, they will appear in your timeline just once."
Twitter users will be able to remove Promoted Tweets from their timelines by clicking on them. YouTube video ads can be dismissed in a similar fashion.
Twitter says it plans to test its updated ad offering over the next few weeks with a specific group of partners that includes Best Western, Dell, Gatorade, Groupon, HBO,JetBlue, LivingSocial, Microsoft Xbox, Red Bull, Sephora, Starbucks, Summit Entertainment's "50/50," TNT, and Virgin America, among others. The test also is expected to include Promoted Tweets from a number of non-profit organizations that users follow like the American Red Cross.
Twitter introduced Promoted Tweets in April, 2010, and until now has been showing them only in Twitter search results. The company also sells two other ad products: Promoted Trends, labeled ads that appear in the site's Trending Topics list, and Promoted Accounts, labeled recommendations to "follow" the advertiser's Twitter account.
So far, Twitter's ad programs appear to be doing well. In January, media metrics company eMarketer estimated that Twitter had generated $45 million in advertising last year and projected revenue of $150 million in 2011 and $250 million in 2012.
Since then, Twitter's revenue picture may have changed: Earlier this month, Google's agreement with Twitter to show tweets in real-time search results concluded; neither company has explained why the relationship was not renewed. However, a spokesperson for eMarketer said the firm did not consider this deal, the terms of which remain undisclosed, in its forecast.
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