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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Twitter Lets Brands Reach Viewers of Their TV Ads

Twitter Lets Brands Reach Viewers of Their TV Ads

For those inclined toward social media, using Twitter while watching television has become a ritual, with viewers commenting on everything from sports events to nighttime dramas. On Thursday, executives from Twitter discussed how they planned to capitalize on that activity by allowing advertisers to send ads to people who are watching specific programming.

The new product will help brands match advertisements with Twitter commentary by viewers. Brands can then send messages to selected Twitter users who have already seen their ad on television.

“When people turn on TV they turn on Twitter,” said Matt Derella, the director of brand and agency strategy, who led a presentation on the product in Manhattan.

Twitter also announced it would work with a number of media companies, including Time Inc., Bloomberg, Discovery, Vevo, Vice Media, Condé Nast Entertainment and Warner Music Group, to sell advertisers content, in a partnership called Twitter Amplify. The content will probably be digital video or television content like clips from shows. It can then be shared on Twitter, and advertisers can run ads before the videos are viewed.

The format is similar to a partnership Twitter announced last year with ESPN and Ford, which embedded replays from football games in posts sent via Twitter. ESPN and Ford promoted the posts to people who had been identified as being interested in sports based on the accounts they followed on Twitter and the subjects of their posts.

Jim Nail, an analyst at Forrester Research, said Twitter would have to be careful about the number of advertisements it allowed on its platform. By injecting too many ads into a user's feed during a television show, “they risk driving those fans away and having those fans unfollow the show,” Mr. Nail said. A representative from Twitter said the company already had limits on how many ads users would see in a day.

“This will allow us to really align much more of the work we're doing day in and day out,” said Tim Castree, the chief operating officer at MediaVest USA, part of the Starcom MediaVest Group, of the new advertising offerings. Instead of focusing advertising during major events, advertisers can now “extend the time period for the spot we already had planned.”

Last month, Twitter signed a multiyear deal, estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, with Starcom to, among other things, allow the companies to combine some of the resources they use for measuring and tracking data and advertising.

This week, Twitter made other brand announcements including a two-step authentication process that would provide more security for Twitter accounts. The accounts of several prominent brands, including Burger King and Jeep, were hacked in February.

The company also announced a feature that allows users to sign up for offers from brands without having to leave the site.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: May 24, 2013

An earlier version of this article described the Twitter Amplify program incorrectly. It involves Twitter's media partnerships, not its advertising targeting program.

A version of this article appeared in print on May 24, 2013, on page B2 of the New York edition with the headline: Twitter Lets Brands Reach Viewers of Their TV Ads.