Will These Make Twitter Marketing More Effective?

Chris CrumAdvertising

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Twitter recently introduced a new ad format that encourages users to tweet about brands and increase brand mentions and discussion throughout the Twitterverse for those who use it.

The format is called Conversational Ads. According to Twitter, advertisers can use them to drive more earned media and brand influence.

Do these ads sound appealing to your business? Let us know in the comments.

The format looks similar to the poll feature the company recently launched to users, so people will be used to seeing these kinds of buttons even if the functionality is different. When the user clicks one of the buttons, it opens a pre-populated tweet accompanied by the brand’s creative and hashtag buttons. The user can personalize the tweet. Once they tweet it, the consumer gets a message from the brand thanking them. The user’s followers will see their tweet in their timelines.

Twitter has been beta testing the ads and says the format has seen success over the last few months. It shares a couple of quotes from brands who have tested it…

Samsung Electronics Canada CMO Mark Childs: “As one of the first global brands to use Twitter’s new conversational ad unit, we’re excited by the opportunity to initiate more meaningful conversation. To stay ahead of the curve, it’s important to continuously evolve our social media engagement strategies to help our fans get closer to the Samsung Canada brand.”

Lifetime Director of Social Strategy Marissa Vinciguerra: “We are thrilled to join forces with Twitter as a partner to launch the conversational video tool for the upcoming premiere of our new series, ‘Pitch Slapped’ on January 5th. The Tweet features voting buttons encouraging fans to engage with our creative and is a perfect match for this campaign.”

The ads are still in beta and only available for select advertisers, but those with an account team can ask about using them.

In the U.S., ad performance can be tracked using Twitter Brand Hub.

At the very least, Conversational Ads seem like an interesting new format that could lend to some interesting brand experiments. On the other hand, not being careful enough with a campaign could lead to having to put out social media fires.

Andrew Hutchinson at Social Media Today makes a great point:

In many respects, Conversational Ads seem like a relatively minor addition - done right, they could deliver good results, but as with most automation or artificial-lead engagement options, getting it right is very, very difficult, and it seems more likely that it'll be used in flat, uncreative ways that won't see significant engagement. Even worse, getting it wrong could lead to a massive hashtag fail, similar to the #YourTaxis or #McDStories campaigns in which the hashtags were flipped and used for wide-scale derision. That's probably the biggest risk of this new offering, that the ad could be so blatant and so flat that users could turn against it and make the hashtag/s a thread for criticism - note that you can edit your tweet after clicking on the hashtag option of your choice from the Conversational Ad, so you can alter the message you send out to whatever you wish.

In fact, he points out that the Samsung example Twitter itself shared even had people responding with criticisms of the company.

You have to remember, if you give the Twitterverse an opportunity to take a shot at you, there is always the possibility it will take you up on your offer. Of course this is much more likely to be an issue for big businesses, and if Twitter rolls this out to all, smaller businesses might benefit more.

Twitter is also reportedly working on a new ad format that would enable advertisers to utilize tweets from regular users and promote them.

This is according to DigiDay, which cites people who got a look at the offering at the Consumer Electronics Show. From the report:

The new product is based on what Twitter is calling a “brand enthusiast gallery,” which will house a repository of brand-related tweets for advertisers to pick through. Twitter will direct message the author of the tweet and ask permission on behalf of a brand to use the tweet before reposting it, said an ad agency executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity because discussions with Twitter were private.

The ad unit is a standard tweet from an advertiser on top of a carousel of related tweets from users.

It definitely looks as though Twitter is looking to better harness content from regular users to help advertisers. We'll see how that works out in time.

Meanwhile, users are bracing for the coming lift of the 140-character Tweet limit and seeing what kind of an experience that brings.

Do you think these new ad formats will help businesses get better Twitter results? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.