According to CNBC and Re/Code, Twitter announced on Dec. 10 that it would start showing ads to “logged out” site visitors, i.e., anyone who visits the site and views tweets without first logging in (or having an account at all).
Even when someone does have a Twitter account, it’s common to end up on the site as an unregistered visitor when conducting a Google search or when accessing the web from an anonymous or “incognito” browser. It’s estimated that Twitter receives around 500 million unregistered visitors per month.
As Re/Code stated, “This is a huge deal for Twitter.” It’s a big change in the company’s approach to online advertising, which has been virtually nonexistent up until this point. The lack of blatant internet advertising is what makes Twitter so appealing to its users, but it has also caused investors to wonder whether the social media site will be able to sustain itself.
Some advertisers actually think that Twitter has too many registered users, and if avoiding ads is as simple as logging in, then the new advertising plan may not work at all.
Others have taken the opposite stance in the past, as the Wall Street Journal once reported, and Twitter’s lack of registered users compared to a platform like Facebook is something that kept advertisers from seeing the website as a lucrative investment.
The latter approach seems more prevalent than the former, and it’s why Twitter’s new advertising program could make the company into an incredibly popular investment option.
“Twitter’s decision to start showing ads on their logged out site will benefit both the company and advertisers,” says Suzanne Jeska, Owner, MRN Web Designs. “This strategy will give Twitter a much needed revenue stream to remain competitive with other social media companies such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. If companies are able to target their ads to specific users, they will get more brand exposure online. Even though users may be annoyed with the ads, their subscription to Twitter is free and they may find that some of the ads are of interest to them.”
For a long time, Twitter had to argue against its critics that the site reached far more people than the 320 million users who log in at least once a month — but up until now, it had no way of proving that this reach could be beneficial at all.