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Twitter Tries Its Hand at Targeted Ads

Twitter Tries Its Hand at Targeted Ads
By Jennifer LeClaire

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Aside from the obvious goal of increasing profits, Twitter describes the goal of its targeted ads as twofold. The micro-blogging service said it wants to make ads on Twitter more useful and to give users simple privacy options. If users uncheck the "promoted content" option, Twitter will not match their account to info shared by Twitter's ad partners.
 


Twitter is continuing its advertising experiments. The micro-blogging service said it would soon test a new way to make ads on Twitter more useful to users in the United States.

The plans are to display promoted content from brands and businesses that users have shown interest in. The end game: Users won't see more ads on Twitter, but they may see better ones.

Twitter used the example of a local florist to explain how it works. A local florist that wants to advertise a Valentine's Day special on Twitter, the company said, would prefer to show their ad to flower enthusiasts who frequent their Web site or subscribe to their newsletter.

"To get the special offer to those people who are also on Twitter, the shop may share with us a scrambled, unreadable e-mail address (a hash) or browser-related information (a browser cookie ID)," Twitter explained in a blog post. "We can then match that information to accounts in order to show them a Promoted Tweet with the Valentine's Day deal. This is how most other companies handle this practice, and we don't give advertisers any additional user information."

Two Goals

Twitter's stated goal with the targeted ads is twofold. The micro-blogging service said it wants to make its ads more useful and to give users simple and meaningful privacy options. On the privacy front, for example, if users uncheck the box next to "Promoted content" in their account settings, Twitter will not match their account to information shared by Twitter's ad partners for tailoring ads.

"This is the only place you'll need to disable this feature on Twitter," Twitter said. "And because Twitter supports Do Not Track, Twitter will not receive browser-related information from our ad partners for tailoring ads if users have DNT enabled in their browser."
 

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