NEW YORK: Twitter has expanded its repertoire of brand marketing services with the launch of its first sponsored "hashtag page".

The social media site launched the initiative during the Pocono 400 NASCAR motor race on June 10th, showcasing new Tweets and photos from drivers, race officials and other "insiders".

Twitter promoted the page with its first-ever TV ad campaign, featuring 15-second spots showing participants in the race and prominently featuring the hashtag page's URL. 

Writing on Twitter's official blog ahead of the launch, Omid Ashtari, part of the firm's sports and entertainment team, termed the new page an "experiment", with new pages likely to be launched for other NASCAR events later in 2012.

Ashtari added that the page was driven by "a combination of algorithms and curation", in order to present users with the "most interesting Tweets" about the race. By contrast, the conventional search results pages generated via clicking on hashtags within Twitter are entirely driven by algorithms.

Marc Jenkins, NASCAR's vice president of digital media, added: "The sanctioning body is pleased that Twitter partnered with NASCAR to launch this product and we look forward to a long and healthy relationship coming out of this weekend's launch."

Sponsored "hashtag pages" represent a further stage in Twitter's monetisation strategy, which began with the launch of its Promoted Tweets service in 2010.

Speaking in March, Adam Bain, the firm's head of global revenue, indicated that Twitter would continue to seek new partnerships with brands, with a particular focus on ecommerce opportunities such as promoted discounts and coupons.

Emarketer research released earlier this year suggested that Twitter's overall ad revenues grew 213% in 2011 to reach $139.5m for the year. The firm is forecast to generate $540m from ads by 2014.

Data sourced from TechCrunch/AdWeek/Twitter/NASCAR; additional content by Warc staff