Twitter Finally Reveals Its Plan to Make Money From All Those Free Tweets Posted Everywhere

Ads will begin appearing in apps like Flipboard

Promoted tweets are going to show up outside of Twitter for the first time, the company announced today, revealing part of its strategy for increasing ad exposure that had been been limited to its own site and apps.

Now, it will serve paid Twitter messages to partner sites and apps, including Flipboard and Yahoo Japan, partly owned by Yahoo. Both Web properties already have strong Twitter integrations with sections devoted to streams of activity powered by the social messaging site.

Twitter said its Promoted Tweets would show up in those Twitter content areas on the third-party sites, as well as in other sections of the sites, and the ads would have the "same look and feel that is native" to the experiences on them.

"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 said in a blog post today.

Twitter also said brands would be able to use the same targeting data and creative they use on its platform to reach users with these syndicated tweets. It is clear why Twitter is looking to expand its ad business off its own ad platform, a strategy it started wholly embracing when it bought the ad network MoPub in 2013: It needs to find larger audiences than it attracts on its own.

With MoPub, Twitter has said it can hit more than 1 billion users on mobile devices across various Web properties. While announcing syndicated Promoted Tweets, it said that last quarter tweets generated 185 billion impressions outside Twitter.

Those are impressions Twitter can't afford to let fly free, especially when it has had a hard time attracting massive user numbers like Facebook has. Still, Twitter is known for its oversized influence over outside media, where its messages show up across entertainment and news sites, all over television, and on out-of-home screens and billboards.

"What makes Twitter unique is that tweets can flow from Twitter to other mediums seamlessly, like TV, websites, and mobile applications," the company said in its blog post. 

Besides expanding the reach of its ads to all those areas, the social messaging service has been making changes to increase its appeal and lure more visitors.

Just last week, it introduced the long-anticipated instant timelines that make its platform more accessible to new users, who now get help setting up their accounts with automatically populated feeds based on their interests. Twitter also has undergone redesigns to make it more dynamic with more video and photos, including a new video player developed after it bought SnappyTV.

In another departure from its text-based, free-flowing roots, Twitter is increasingly controlling the stream of messages, showing users popular tweets they may have missed or even from accounts they never followed.

Twitter's syndicated ads announcement comes just as the company is set to reveal fourth-quarter results Thursday.

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