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Twitter advertising starts with 'promoted tweets'

Paid-for tweets to be highlighted in search results

Twitter will support adverts on its micro-blogging service for the first time from today.

Organisations will be given the option of purchasing 'Promoted Tweets' which will appear as the top result when web users search for words and topics on the site.

This is similar to Google's sponsored links that appear at the top of results pages generated by the search engine.

However, initially only one 'Promoted Tweet' will appear in each search results page and they will only be seen by around 10 percent of the Twitter users.

Sony Pictures, Starbucks and US retailer Best Buy, which will open its first store in the UK next month, are among those that have already signed up to use the service.

"Over the years, we've resisted introducing a traditional web advertising model because we wanted to optimise for value before profit," said Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, in a blog.

"It's non-traditional, it's easy, and it makes a ton of sense for Twitter," said Stone. He described promoted tweets as simply "ordinary tweets that businesses and organisations want to highlight to a wider group of users".

Twitter described the move as the "first phase" and said in the future it plans to allow 'Promoted Tweets' to be shown by Twitter clients as well as displaying relevant promoted tweets in a user's tweet stream "in a way that is useful to you".

Stone added that the tweets will be "clearly labelled as 'promoted' when an advertiser is paying".

"We strongly believe that ‘Promoted Tweets' should be useful to you. We'll attempt to measure whether the tweets resonate with users and stop showing ‘Promoted Tweets' that don't resonate," he said.

The move comes just a month after the Wall Street Journal's AllThingsD website predicted that Twitter would serve ads through its search pages.

Twitter engineer Alex Payne further fuelled the speculation when he revealed that the Micro-blogging service is set to get some new features.

"If you had some of the nifty site features that we Twitter employees have, you might not want to use a desktop client. (You will soon)," he said in a tweet, which has since been removed.

See also: No ads for Twitter this year


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