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Twitter's latest test: Showing you ads even if you're not logged in

The social network is trying to reach the 500 million people a month who visit the site without signing in. The hope? Make more money.


Twitter is gradually launching the test with select advertisers in the US, UK, Japan and Australia.


Think you see enough ads on Twitter already? Well, get ready to see a whole lot more of 'em.

Attempting to cash in on a bigger audience, Twitter said Thursday it will begin showing ads to people who don't log in. That's a half billion people a month, according to company estimates.

The struggling social network is testing a program that will put ads in between tweets on a user profile page or on a page featuring a specific tweet. This means when someone comes across a tweet through a Google search or a link in an article, they can see the ads even if they aren't logged in, Twitter said in a blog post. The ads, to start, will appear only on desktops, where many of those who don't sign in reside.

Executives at the San Francisco-based social network have long claimed that nearly a billion people see tweets on apps and sites outside of Twitter. CEO Jack Dorsey has frequently talked about making money off users who don't log in. The company hopes the ads will drive revenue by attracting more advertisers. Twitter has 320 million monthly active users, but that number has stagnated. To see most content on Twitter, people don't have to sign in.

Dorsey and Adam Bain, Twitter's chief operating officer, said during the company's quarterly earnings call in October that it expects to generate revenue from users who don't log in at about half the rate it gets from those who do.

"What we're launching is a way for marketers to target more of Twitter's total audience than they've ever had before," Bain told CNBC. "We're looking to make sure advertisers' return on investment is as strong for marketers for these logged-out users as it is for logged-in. We're making sure it can contribute to the overall experience."

Twitter is rolling out the new option with select advertisers in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan and Australia.

"Marketers can now maximize the opportunities they have to connect with that audience," Deepak Rao, a Twitter product manager, said in the blog post. Investors seem pleased with the news. Twitter shares rose more than 6 percent on Thursday.