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Twitter to start using targeted advertising

Twitter logo is displayed at the entrance of Twitter headquarters in San Francisco on March 11, 2011 in California. (KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Twitter announced that it will start using targeted advertising Thursday, allowing advertisers to select an audience for their Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts.

In a company blog post, Twitter product management director Kevin Weil wrote that advertisers will be able to target their advertising based on interests, such as music and radio or science, as well as by specifying user names that are relevant to a certain product.

Advertisers can’t, however, target certain accounts’ followers specifically.

“If you’re promoting your indie band’s next tour,” Weil wrote, “you can create a custom audience by adding @usernames of related bands, thus targeting users with the same taste in music.”

So Twitter can target an ad to a user who follows a slew of similar accounts or sends out frequent tweets mentioning, say, indie music or Redskins football. But you couldn’t, it seems, be specifically targeted by a band or football team because you follow a rival sports team or music group.

How does this change the Twitter experience for the average Twitter user? According to a Tweet from Weil clarifying the changes, users shouldn’t see any difference in their home streams.

He wrote that the “end user experience is no different! Just Promoted Tweets in your timeline, like today — hopefully now even more relevant.”

As the Wall Street Journal reported, the new Twitter ad strategy could help appease advertisers who’ve said they have trouble figuring out if their Twitter messages are reaching their intended audiences.

Related stories:

Facebook stock decline shows Wall Street is wary of give-it-away-free approach

Twitter files appeal with New York Court over releasing tweets

AP: Facebook speeds up clunky iPhone app with latest update

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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