March 20, 2012, 2:56 PM

Twitter rolls out mobile ads

The microblogging service brings Promoted Tweets to mobile devices.

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Twitter today announced it is enabling marketers to use its Promoted Tweets paid ad service to reach mobile users who aren’t following the retailer’s brand.

Late last month Twitter began a test in which it allowed marketers to target Promoted Tweets at consumers who already follow its brand. Promoted Tweets appear in a consumer’s timeline like any other Twitter message, which is called a tweet. Like a regular tweet, the messages will appear in the timeline once; as the shopper scrolls, the Promoted Tweet flows with the rest of the Tweets in the timeline.

Starting today marketers can target Promoted Tweets to mobile users who share similar interests with their existing followers. Twitter is enabling advertisers to target shoppers based on how they are viewing Twitter on desktop computers or laptops, as  based on the operating system a mobile device uses, such as Apple’s iOS operating system or Google Inc.’s Android. The default setting will target consumers across devices and operating systems. Marketers can also target consumers based on their location, demographics or interests.

 “Mobile device targeting is great for brands who want to increase the prominence and reach of their message to a particular type of mobile user,” reads a Twitter blog post. “For example, mobile game and app sellers can now pinpoint the users who are likely to purchase their products.”

The rollout is the latest effort by Twitter to generate revenue via advertising. Last month Twitter launched its first self-service ad format, called Promoted Products, which enables marketers to buy and target ads on their own. The moves are aimed at boosting Twitter’s revenue, which is expected to reach $259.9 million this year, an 86.3% jump from $139.5 million in 2011, according to a forecast released earlier this year from research firm eMarketer.

Twitter’s approach to mobile advertising mirrors that of Facebook, which last month announced it would begin weaving its Sponsored Stories ad format into its news feed, the first page a consumer sees when logging on to Facebook. Sponsored Stories enable advertisers to highlight posts or actions, such as when a consumer’s Facebook friend Likes a product, checks into a store, plays a game or uses a Facebook application.

At the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012, Tom Funk, senior e-commerce manager, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and Jason John, senior director, marketing, Gilt Groupe, will speak in a session entitled “The many flavors of a social strategy: What will work for you?” The IRCE $200 early-bird discount expires March 31.

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