Twitter expansion lets ads reach users who aren't logged in

Twitter said Thursday it was expanding its advertising to allow marketers to reach people who use the messaging platform without logging in.

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The move potentially opens up new revenue streams to Twitter, which has struggled to expand its user base and has never made a profit.

Twitter has 320 million active users, but claims its "total audience" is much larger, with many more people viewing tweets without joining or logging in.

Twitter product manager Deepak Rao said the new feature would be "a test for marketers to reach the over 500 million people who visit Twitter each month to keep in touch with what's happening without logging in."

Rao said this "includes people who click on links to tweets in Google search."

"By letting marketers scale their campaigns and tap into the total Twitter audience, they will be able to speak to more people in new places using the same targeting, ad creative, and measurement tools. Marketers can now maximize the opportunities they have to connect with that audience," he said.

The new feature is being rolled out with some advertisers in the U.S., Britain, Japan and Australia, "with more geographies in the future," Rao added.

Lou Kerner, a partner at the venture firm FlightVC who follows social media, called Twitter's action "a smart move" but said it was unclear if it would deliver meaningful revenue.

"This can have a positive impact on revenue at the margin, but ultimately it doesn't get at their core problem, which is user engagement, how often people are going to Twitter to see the content that they want to see," Kerner told AFP.

"They need to figure out how to get users that come and stay longer. Which is a very difficult problem. It's going take a fundamental change of Twitter."

Much of Twitter's revenues come from ads known as "promoted tweets."

The company, which recently brought co-founder Jack Dorsey back as chief executive, saw its shares jump 7.4 per cent on the news to US$26.11 in afternoon trade.


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