July 28, Twitter introduces a new way to "ensure that the most important Tweets from the organizations you follow reach you directly, by placing them at or near the top of your timeline." These Promoted Tweets will scroll through the timeline like any other Tweet, and like regular Tweets, they will appear in your timeline just once.
Promoted Tweets can also be easily dismissed from your timeline with a single click.
"Traditionally, you could target with a set of keywords and restrict to geographies," Kevin Weil, the product lead for Twitter's monetization products, told me. "With this, you can target to your followers -- anybody following the brand is part of that," said Twitter.
Twitter says engagement on Promoted Tweets already generate 3-5% engagement, and this targeting is likely to increase that metric.
The company will be "rolling out and testing this new offering over the next several weeks with a select group of partners, including Best Western, Dell, Gatorade, Groupon, HBO, JetBlue, LivingSocial, Microsoft Xbox, Red Bull, Sephora, Starbucks, Summit Entertainment's "50/50", TNT and Virgin America among others -- with more to come soon."
During this phase, "you may also see Promoted Tweets in your timeline from non-profit organizations you follow, including charity: water, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Room to Read, The American Red Cross and Water.org," Twitter added.
The company is also trying to be very judicious with the display of ads, to ensure that users don't see too many ads in a given amount of time. Twitter representatives wouldn't specify details of their limits, but said they are constantly tweaking and testing.
The new targeted Promoted Tweets to followers will initially only be visible on Twitter.com, but the company expects to eventually roll it out to third-party clients, as well.
"Anyplace people experience Twitter," said Graves, "there will be options for monetization."