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Dick Costolo is bringing Twitter's 'Promoted Tweet' ads outside user feeds on Twitter and its apps to Twitter feeds on Flipboard and Yahoo Japan.
Until now, when Twitter users read tweets outside the company's own apps—on news sites, like Yahoo, or apps that aggregate social content—there were no ads. Now, when users scan through their Tweets on Flipboard, ads will be inserted in there, just as they are on Twitter's apps.
For Twitter, this is a way to allow advertisers to reach a broader audience, beyond just those reading tweets on its own services, giving Twitter an opportunity to make more money. It also builds on Costolo's push for the company to cash in on the broadest audience of people who see tweets, even if they aren't logged in. Twitter isn't revealing the business model, but presumably the publishers would take a cut of Twitter's revenue from the ads.
"In the third quarter of 2014 there were approximately 185 Billion Tweet impressions off of Twitter," writes Ameet Ranadive, Twitter's senior director of product, in a blog announcing the news. "For the thousands of brands already advertising on Twitter, these new partnerships open a significant opportunity to extend the reach of their message to a larger audience. Twitter syndicated ads will be seen by users within Twitter content sections on third-party properties, as well as within third-party content areas."
This is a long time coming: In April Twitter announced it would start testing the ability of advertisers to run their marketing campaigns outside Twitter. Now that the company has announced its first two partners, we'll see how quickly those ads start to roll out—it's at the discretion of Flipboard and Twitter Japan.
Just how big will this be for Twitter? Ranadive points out that thousands of Web and mobile apps already syndicate tweets. "Combine that with the flexibility and control of a Promoted Tweet," he writes, "and we think marketers will have an almost infinite capacity to create large-scale, rich and well-targeted advertising campaigns across a variety of platforms."
This change comes just the week after Twitter announced a new camera and video tools for users, as well as the ability to do group chat. This latest announcement gives Costolo more ammunition as he looks to show investors that he's accelerating the pace of innovation. That's a message he's sure to repeat when the company announces earnings after the closing bell Thursday.