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Twitter Service Lets Advertisers Reach Users by Interests

Twitter Inc., the microblogging website whose members can send 140-character messages to followers, unveiled a service that lets advertisers more precisely target users based on their interests.

Marketers can deliver Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts to sets of users by choosing from more than 350 interest categories, such as science or personal finance, Twitter said today in a blog posting. Until now, advertisers could only use the promotions to reach members who already followed them or those with comparable interests to those followers.

“This is a huge step forward,” said Kevin Weil, director of product management, in an interview. “It gives advertisers more flexibility.” People’s interests are determined in part by who they choose to follow on the social-networking site.

Twitter, which has about 140 million active users, is looking for new ways to bolster its advertising revenue. The San Francisco-based company began its ad service in 2010, and has expanded to enable marketing messages in timelines, or the feed of updates from members that users follow, including on mobile devices.

The new service has already been in testing and is now being rolled out more broadly, Weil said. Interest categories include overarching labels such as garden and soccer for broader reach, or advertisers can target users more directly with customized interest groups.

-- Editors: Jillian Ward, Lisa Rapaport

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