News Publishers Start Seeking Money From Twitter Feeds

Many news sites have successfully harnessed Twitter to distribute their stories and build their audiences, but they aren’t making money from news tweets yet. Now, though, early exploration is emerging from Los Angeles to New York to Montreal. Paid-tweet purveyor, the 4-month-old Los Angeles startup, has pitched its services for the most obvious approach, inserting paid tweets among news tweets. The New York Times isn’t ready to try paid tweets, despite nearly 2.3 million followers for its main Twitter feed. “We’re taking a bit of a wait-and-see approach on that one,” said Denise Warren, senior VP-chief advertising officer at The New York Times Media Group. “We want to be sure that audiences really understand the difference between the paid tweet and the real tweet.” Instead, however, The New York Times Online has started selling packages of ads that appear specifically for visitors who arrive through social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Advertisers can buy certain shares of such readers, typically around 25 percent, so a page receiving a million visitors via social media would show a participating marketer’s ad to 250,000 of them. Canoe, a major Canadian news publisher based in Montreal, has just started trying something even more directly tied to its news tweets. Since last month, it’s used a service from Assetize that inserts an advertising bar on top of pages that get shouted out in participating Twitter feeds. There’s room for the publisher’s branding and an ad message, plus buttons encouraging retweets and ad sales. So far Canoe is using the advertising bar to promote itself, displaying the Canoe logo and messages like “@canadapolitics shared this article through the Canoe network.” But ads from outside marketers might be coming next. That process of exploration seems likely to deliver paid tweets to news feeds sooner or later. Critics argue that paid tweets are an interruption and alienate followers


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