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Twitter Said to Launch Retargeted Ads Based on Users' Cookies, Location

Don't be surprised if you start seeing advertisements for products on Twitter that you were shopping for elsewhere online.

The social network is reportedly getting ready to launch "retargeted" ads in people's streams. Retargeted ads are aimed at users based on their cookies and location.
Twitter hasn't confirmed the effort, which has been described as a soft launch, but TechCrunch reports that the company could announce it as early as today.

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The move will be an expansion of an "experimental" project that began over the summer. Twitter uses user accounts to cross check data that allows it to target mobile ads based on a user's web visits.

The new ads might not immediately be available for purchase and they may not yet reach all users, TechCrunch says.

Related: Twitter Adds Its First Female Board Member

The cookie-based retargeted ads could make it possible to deliver ads to users who actually want them. For instance, If a user is browsing a department store catalog on his computer at home, Twitter might deliver an ad for that same store.

Unlike most other social networks, Twitter's users access the service from multiple types of devices. That allows them to defeat the problem of retargeted ads on mobile devices: a lack of cookies.

By tying a mobile device, which doesn't have cookies, to what its owner does on a computer, which does, Twitter hopes it has the magic combination to make retargeted ads on phones and tablets really effective.

Related: 5 Steps to Supercharging Engagement on Twitter
 

Benjamin Kabin is a Brooklyn-based technology journalist who specializes in security, startups, venture capital and social media.

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