How Twitter is expanding ads to 500M pairs of eyes

Twitter

Twitter is starting to make money from the 500-million-plus people who see tweets but don't log in.

This is the first time Twitter is making money by going beyond its core group of 320 million numbers — one way to get around Twitter's struggle to grow that number. Twitter is now starting to show ads — in the form of promoted tweets — to an additional half a billion people who see tweets. And Twitter said it expects to generate revenue from its logged-out users at about half the rate it monetizes its logged-in users.

"What we're launching is a way for marketers to target more of Twitter's total audience than they've ever had before," said Adam Bain, Twitter's chief operating officer. It's starting in a pilot with select advertisers in the U.S., U.K., Japan and Australia, rolling out to more geographies in the future

CEO Jack Dorsey has been talking about the potential in making money from Twitter's logged-out users since he stepped in as interim CEO this past summer, and laid out more specific plans at Twitter's investor day, to find ways to make money from Twitter's fullest reach.

How are a half-billion people who aren't actively using Twitter seeing tweets? Largely through Google search results, or people clicking on a text or email sharing a tweet, or through Twitter's network, all the other places it distributes tweets — apps, websites and television.

"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 users," Bain said. And for Twitter's users Bain said: "We're making sure it can contribute to the overall experience. We're making sure they're not display ads, not products that take over the user experience and are interruptive."

Bain wouldn't say how much revenue he expects this new advertising venture to generate, or how quickly it will roll out fully, but said "as long as advertiser ROI is strong, this is something we're going to continue in a big way."