Sina Weibo introduces Twitter-like in-stream advertising in quest to monetize its 400m user base

Sina Weibo introduces Twitter-like in-stream advertising in quest to monetize its 400m user base

Sina has officially launched promoted feed advertising on Weibo  in yet another attempt to get convert its 400-million strong microblogging platform into a moneymaker, according to Chinese news website Sohu IT.

The new Weibo Tuiguang system was in closed testing last year and is now rolling out to all users. Ads are set apart from user posts with a grey line and a notice that it is a sponsored post.

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Sina CEO Charles Chao had tipped that the new revenue stream was coming to the platform during the company’s third quarter earnings call.

Promoted posts have yet to arrive on mobile, however, an interesting move given Sina’s recent commitment to a “mobile first” strategy. Chao sent an email to employees late last year explaining a restructuring of the company to prioritize its mobile efforts and monetization on Weibo.

Sina is taking a multi-pronged approach to making a profit off its popular microblogging service. It recently rebranded its e-payment product as Weibo Wallet and ran a test with smartphone maker Xiaomi to sell devices directly on Weibo. It’s also investigating a fan headline advertising solution that periodically displays in-feed posts to users who are fans of brands and businesses.

While Sina operates one of the most active social networks in China, but it has little time to rest on its laurels. Rival Tencent is gaining on Weibo with its WeChat messaging app, which passed 300 million users earlier this week. Sina even admitted last November that time spent on Weibo was down because users were turning to WeChat.

(hat tip Marbridge Daily)

Image credits: Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty Images, Sohu IT

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