Twitter Inc. added a tool for advertisers that will let them target users who are posting about television shows, seeking to capitalize on the way people use its microblogging service.
The feature will allow networks and consumer brands to promote tweets to users discussing specific shows, even if the advertiser isn’t running a spot in the TV program, the company said today in a blog post. The program has started in the U.K. and U.S. and will come soon to Brazil, Canada, France and Spain.
In the run-up to its initial public offering earlier this month, Twitter pitched investors on its utility for the TV industry, which is looking to the site to help boost ratings for live events and shows. The company has forged partnerships with TV networks and professional sports leagues, such as CBS and the NFL, seeking to get users spending more time on the social-networking site and watching more ads.
“We believe Twitter and TV are highly complementary,” the San Francisco-based company said in the blog post. “Now advertisers can easily reach Twitter users exposed to integrations, sponsorships, and other innovative TV tie-ins for an additional touch point or message expansion.”
Twitter can directly boost TV ratings when members use the site to share their immediate reactions to a show, a Nielsen study from August found. The TV industry is hoping to buck the trend of viewers increasingly turning to digital-video recorders and online services like Netflix Inc. that let them watch programs at any time. For example, Comcast Corp. in October teamed up with Twitter to add a linked See It button that would let its paid users record or view programs on its cable service.
U.S. cable and satellite TV subscriptions are expected to decline in 2013 for the first time ever, dropping to 100.8 million from 100.9 million, according to research firm IHS.
Twitter surged more than 70 percent in the stock’s debut Nov. 7. The shares gained 2.5 percent to $42.06 at the close today in New York.