Twitter launched an ambitious new redesign on Wednesday designed to keep tweeters and their followers on the site longer and entice advertisers to splash their cash on reaching the fast-growing number of Twitter fans.

Twitter said the new look would offer an “easier, faster and richer experience” by streaming searches and lists on the left of the screen and grouping together other features such as favourites, recently-followed feeds and trending topics on the other side. The new Twitter look will also make it easier for fans to view photos, videos and other media content.

The changes will be rolled out over the coming weeks and users will be able to toggle between the old and new looks.

“These changes will roll out as a preview over the next several weeks starting with a very small percentage of registered accounts tonight,” the company said on its website on Wednesday.

Twitter announced the redesign in conjunction with a new advertising programme that it hopes will help the site to cash in on its surging popularity. The programme will allow advertisers to pay Twitter to feature in a section that is automatically customized for each user and which suggests accounts for them to follow.

Twitter already allows companies to purchase Promoted Tweets and Trends that show up as the top feed when people search for related words, and the new system should further improve the site’s friendliness to marketers.

“We’re definitely beyond the experimentation stage,” said Dick Costolo, Twitter’s chief operating officer at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Mixx conference in New York.

“We feel like we’ve cracked the code on a new kind of advertising — advertising that starts out as organic content.” According to the New York Times, Costolo said that Twitter now has 160 million users and is growing at the rate of 370,000 a day.

Costolo said that companies would soon start spending millions of dollars to reach these users.

“That day is right around the corner,” he said. “Right now, there’s a line out the door to advertise with us and spend significant dollars with us.”

Keywords: Twitter