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Twitter ready to unveil ‘retargeted adverts’

Graeme Parton

Twitter could be set to launch adverts based on the browsing histories of its users, if new reports are to be believed.

If the social giant confirms the rumours, the changes would follow what it has referred to as an “experimental phase”.

The promotional content would be targeted using the browser cookies left by the websites visited by the user, and will appear across platforms – both mobile and desktop – regardless of where the pages were initially viewed.

The ‘retargeted adverts’, as they’re called, haven’t yet been particularly successful on handheld devices, perhaps because tablets and phones tend not to leave the same cookies as more conventional computers do. However, with users logged into their accounts across platforms, it is thought the data will be shared sufficiently for Twitter’s feature to work.

Some experts are saying the site’s new use of cookies is the latest part of its attempt to become something of an advertising powerhouse. Only recently, the company was valued, after its IPO, at almost $24bn, and this push on product-selling could help it boost this figure even further.

The CEO of retargeted ad firm Triggit, Zach Coelius, claimed the new method will be hugely advantageous for Twitter. He also highlighted the network’s “unique position” in that people log on using both mobile devices and desktop computers.

While some users will no doubt have privacy-related concerns with the new feature, Twitter’s security settings page does give the option to opt out of the re-targeting scheme.

Earlier this year, Twitter launched targeted ads in the U.S. It shows users topic-specific promotional content from relevant brands. These sponsored posts are chosen using data on commonly visited sites and email and service subscriptions.

The news will no doubt put even more of an emphasis on the need for businesses to ensure their sites are visited by consumers.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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