Sun, Jun 21, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Twitter starts testing new product promotion system

CURATED CONTENT:The social media firm has invited influential users to share their favorite places or things, including sponsored messages about merchandise

AFP, WASHINGTON

Twitter Inc on Friday said it was testing a new way to use its platform for shopping by promoting “products and places” in its feeds, as it looks to boost revenue.

“We’re starting to experiment with a small number of products and places,” Twitter product manager Amaryllis Fox said in an official blog post.

“As we test, within your timeline you may see pages and collections of pages that are shared by influencers and brands,” Fox said.

The move is to expand the platform beyond tweets to pages with product information and in some cases “buy” buttons.

The revamp also allows for designated “curators” to connect with users in a manner beyond the 140-character tweet.

“We’ve invited a group of curators to share collections of some of their favorite places and things,” Fox said.

“You’ll be able to browse rich collections from influencers you care about and get more information about the products or places you find interesting,” Fox said.

This could include sponsored messages from HBO about its Game of Thrones TV series or from actress Reese Witherspoon about her Draper James line of apparel, Fox listed in her post as examples.

Other partners in the program include sportswear group Nike Inc, retailer Target Corp and the online news Web site TechCrunch.

The move comes with Twitter looking to improve growth and engagement, as it seeks a new top executive to replace Dick Costolo, who is stepping down.

Costolo was under tremendous pressure from investors to prove his worth by increasing the ranks of Twitter users and revenue brought in by the globally popular one-to-many messaging service.

Twitter’s most recent update showed it has about 300 million active users, but growth has been sluggish compared with other social networks and it has yet to show a profit.

Twitter’s share of the US$145 billion spent on digital advertising around the world this year is slightly less than 1 percent, up from just shy of 0.5 percent last year, research firm eMarketer Inc said.

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