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Twitter ads now available for all U.S. users

The microblogging site opened up advertising to all businesses, not just those who were invited, like in the past.

Twitter's Kevin Weil, Facebook's Gokul Rajaram, and Google's Neal Mohan talk about ads during a panel Tuesday at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York.
Shara Tibken/CNET
NEW YORK--Twitter on Tuesday opened up advertising on its site to all businesses and individuals, giving the company another avenue for generating money.

Twitter has allowed organizations to pay for promoted tweets and promoted accounts since last March, but it was on an invite-only basis. It now has given everyone access to its self-service advertising platform, Kevin Weil, Twitter senior director of product for revenue, said Tuesday at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York.

"Business has been on Twitter since Day 1," Weil said. "We're very excited everyone will be able to leverage Twitter advertising."

Weil also posted the news on Twitter and offered a $50 advertising credit for the first 100 eligible signups.

Since Twitter's earliest days, one of the criticisms about the company's business model was that it wasn't built to generate significant revenue -- especially not enough to reward investors who have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Twitter. But in recent years, the microblogging service has been bolstering its advertising business, and Twitter is now considered a bona fide advertising platform for a wide variety of companies.

The company has been bolstering that platform, adding things like Twitter Cards, and a much richer set of content -- photos, videos, article summaries, and more -- than it had when it was just a 140-character text-delivery mechanism. All of that is designed, in part at least, to give advertisers a better medium for creating rich messages. Indeed, some of the moves Twitter has made have been all about enhancing revenue.

Market research firm eMarketer last month estimated that Twitter will earn $582.8 million in global ad revenue this year, $950 million next year, and $1.33 billion in 2015. According to its boosted forecast, more than half of Twitter's ad revenue -- about 53 percent -- will come from mobile advertising this year, up from virtually no ad revenue from mobile in 2011.

By allowing all individual and businesses to offer advertising through the site, Twitter is positioning itself for another likely bump in revenue.

Twitter said in a blog post Tuesday that it has made improvements to its self-service ad tool, such as more targeting and reporting in the user interface, based on feedback from business and individual users over the past year.

The company noted that if someone had access to Twitter Ads previously, nothing will change in how the platform works for those users. New ad platform users can go to Twitter's self service page at business.twitter.com, answer a couple questions, and start using Twitter Ads.

Updated at 7:45 a.m. PT with additional details and background.