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Twitter Sics Promoted Tweets on Logged-Out Users

By Quinten Plummer
Dec 11, 2015 12:12 PM PT
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Twitter on Thursday revealed it's testing the expansion of promoted tweets aimed at logged-out users.

The company has been searching for ways to monetize the patronage of the roughly 500 million logged-out users per month who hop off Google for a moment to read tweet or two. The glue here is more tweets, more content.

The test will enable logged-out users to view promoted tweets and allow organizations to continue using their same marketing techniques.

If the experiment goes as planned, the expanded reach will enable marketers to "tap into the total Twitter audience" and reach more people using the same targeting, advertising and measurement tools, said Deepak Rao, Twitter's revenue product manager.

The move will provide marketers with a new channel, said Justin Hamel, CEO of MastaMinds.

"In the past, what we have seen with new advertising channels is the prices will be very cheap -- that will make it very attractive to advertisers," he told the E-Commerce Times. "Having the ability to target non-logged-in Twitter users provides a new demographic to laser target ads to."

Know the Audience

While it will open up a new channel for marketers, Twitter may not understand enough about its logged-out users, or else the number wouldn't have climbed to 500 million per month, according to Elizabeth Lampert, president of Elizabeth Lampert PR.

"There are a number of impressions that need to be made to activate the purchase," she told the E-Commerce Times.

"That said, Twitter does have the advantage of knowing a lot about the user based on the information they share, they follow and tweets they favorite. Knowing and understanding are necessary for monetization, and I think they may have a long way to go," Lampert added.

For logged-in visitors, this might not be the greatest thing in the world, according to Hamel.

"Nobody wants to see more ads," he said. "Not to mention finding the relevant info is going to be harder now for them because they will have to sift through more ads and tweets."

For marketers, the downside is that this wider audience includes even more unknowns. Simply put, it's easier to serve regulars than to cater to out-of-towners.

On the Money

Though it's still just a test, and Twitter has scrapped loads of experiments, the move should at least encourage investors, Hamel said.

"Twitter stockholders, stand up and applaud. This strategic move will surely increase Twitter's revenue and profits. It will also give non-signed-up users a swift kick in the caboose to actually take action and create a Twitter account, since creating an account will get rid of some of the spammy ads," he said.

While promoting content to outsiders may be new to Twitter, it's a common practice among forum sites across the Internet, said MastaMind's Hamel.

"It kills two birds with one stone: maximizes profit and increases user signup," he said. "If I was running Twitter.com, I would have done this many moons ago."


Quinten Plummer is a longtime technology reporter and an avid PC gamer who explored local news for a few years, covering law enforcement and government beats, before returning to writing about things run by ones and zeros and the people who make them. If it pushes pixels or improves lives, he wants to learn all he can about it.


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