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Twitter starts injecting paid tweets into the stream

The social network's promoted tweets ad platform is getting a higher profile today with a new program that puts those paid tweets from companies into user streams.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read
What a promoted tweet looks like in the service's main stream.
What a promoted tweet looks like in the service's main stream. Twitter

Twitter today stepped up its advertising efforts with a new program that puts promoted tweets right in front of where users are likely to be looking.

The new system takes promoted tweets--which are paid marketing messages from Twitter's business partners--and puts them up near the top of users' timelines, where they'd typically find the latest updates from accounts of those they're following. Twitter says users will only see these tweets once, and only if they're following that brand or organization. The company has also included a way to dismiss these from the stream, something that can't be done with regular messages.

"From the start, our philosophy around advertising has been simple: we put our users first and strive to create products that enrich the Twitter experience for every Twitter user," the company said in a blog post earlier today.

Twitter logo

Twitter says the new program is being tested with just a handful of companies like Microsoft, Starbucks, Dell, and Groupon, as well as nonprofits. Those companies pay each time an action is taken on that tweet, like clicking on it, retweeting it to followers, or replying directly to it in the form of an @reply.

Twitter launched its promoted tweets program last April in an attempt to provide "non-traditional" advertising, giving brands a way to pay for tweets to show up in the service's search results based on keyword. Twitter then noted that those same tweets would eventually show up in user streams and on third-party client applications.

Earlier this month, AllThingsD reported that Twitter was set to launch the new service by early next month, suggesting today's launch comes slightly ahead of schedule.