Peter Kafka

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Twitter Ads Head to Your Phone

Twitter is expanding its ad program to iPhone and Android handsets, as the company gets more aggressive about ramping up revenue.

Twitter has already been showing some limited advertising on its mobile apps. But now it will start showing its “Promoted Tweets” — its primary ad product, and its attempt to replicate Google’s AdWords program — on phones, as well.

Just like the Promoted Tweets that Twitter shows on its primary Twitter.com site, these ads will show up in users’ “timelines.” At first, Twitter will only allow advertisers to place the ads in front of users who are already following their accounts. But within months, it will expand the program to allow marketers to reach people who don’t follow them — just as it does on the Web.

The announcement comes a day before a Facebook marketing event, where that social network is widely expected to roll out a mobile ad product of its own. So the timing may be more than coincidental.

But the bigger picture is that Twitter needed to increase its ad inventory anyway, in order to accomodate a wave of new ad buyers from its self-serve ad program. So this move would have come sooner than later.

Twitter says that any ad buys will automatically include mobile, and that it won’t sell mobile ads separately. One odd exception to the expansion: For now, the ads still won’t show up on iPads.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus