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Following Google's Lead, Twitter Testing Self-Serve Ads

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Twitter co-founder and CEO Evan Williams probably never thought of many of the ways his service could be used -- and misused.

    Twitter is unveiling its first self-serve ads for the microblogging site, so users can sign up for its new Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts.

    The Promoted Tweets, are pretty much what it sounds like -- when tweets are promoted to the top -- but Promoted Accounts are primarily to juice up followers to any specific account, according to MediaPost which saw Twitter's preview.

    Similar to Facebook, Google AdWords and Microsoft adCenter, Twitter's self-serve platform requires the advertiser to enter a name, and date and time to run the campaign. It also asks for "interests" and "search keywords," as well as a maximum bid and daily budget.

    "Interests" refer to words in profiles Twitter members write to describe themselves such as favorite books, music, clubs and industry associations. The interest topics and keywords relevant to the campaign assist in targeting campaigns.

    The self-serve ads for Twitter aren't new to other online giants. Google cut its corporate teeth on the ads and Facebook has also been inhaling the self-serve ad cheddar -- so much so that it's more than half of its annual revenue.

    Twitter's algorithm for promoting tweets and accounts is unknown, but if one assumes that it reads bios and interests for key words and repetition, the platform probably also determines when and where to insert promoted tweets. However, the monetization could become complicated when Twitter starts charging for the number of followers who see a tweet, or better yet, the number of engaged followers who see and respond.